We had arranged to meet some friends at Rivington on Sunday morning for a very social paced ride (one friends first offroad ride in a year). I'm ashamed to say I had to be dragged out of bed in the morning. We were supposed to leave the house at 9:30am and I think I finally got up at 9 and had some Christmas Cake for breakfast as it was all I had time for. Whilst its obviously not the breakfast of champions it actually seemed to work ok.
Arriving at Riv there was a considerable amount of faff before we all finally set off, 7 of us in total. It was cold but there was no wind so I didn't put my really thick winter gloves (I hate hot, sweaty hands in gloves) on with the result I had very cold fingers for the first 10 minutes or so, but they soon warmed up. My legs felt ok on the bike, they felt quite stiff walking around but ok spinning along.
A consensus of opinion was not to do the Healey Nab drops, I was initially disappointed but it wasn't meant to be a hard ride so I just attacked the long road hill a bit more, a little too much perhaps. I stood up for most of the first section which caused my left VMO and shins (shins? not sure why) to burn like crazy then sat down for the last slog. My left VMO always makes it presence felt after hard offroad runs so I wasn't too surprised by that. I will get to the top of that climb stood up one of these days. I also really, really need to get some new cleats for my boots.
I made myself sit down for the top section, which felt harder - I seem to have lost my ability to sit and spin, I blame the running. A fast blast down Lead Mines then up the next steep road section, my shins complained loudly once again so I had to sit down, I noticed my left foot was moving around all over the place in the pedal which may be why it was setting the VMO muscle off so much. More easy road to the bottom of the climb to the pigeon tower.
A bit of chain faff at the bottom then we began the steady climb up, a few patches of ice but nothing to worry about. It was fine all the way up to the big sweeping left hander than heads to where the old cottage used to be. It was sheet ice, edge to edge on the track. I decided to take the alternative route, however one of the lads decided to try riding it. I watched with interest....he got about two metres on it before the bike went from under him and the foot he put down to catch himself went too. Ice patches ok ish, ice rinks....no.
We took a different route up to the bottom of the pike which was fantastically dry - it better be like that in the summer this year. It was soon pretty obvious that the Pike itself was heaving so we decided against riding up to it and headed along to the Commonwealth down, avoiding a few ice patches along the way. The entry to the descent was another ice rink wo we headed along to the grassy field down which we don't do very often these days.
The track itself was icy but the grass was fine so we flew down that. Just one stubborn sheep to avoid and the frozen grass was brill to ride on, last time I came down here I was having two wheel slides all over the place it was so wet. A fast drop down to the gate then a bimble along the bottom back to the cars - we figured the side of the reservoir would be too busy.
Just under 10 miles and I have to say I was actually just getting warmed up and into it, my legs were starting to perk up so it was a little short for me in the end. It was the correct length for the friends just coming back after their layoff though and that's what matters. I'm glad Jez dragged me out of bed.