Sunday, January 25, 2009


Had a rubbish nights sleep last night, which surprised me. I was expecting to sleep like a log due to the long run and I was shattered at 10:30 pm and went to bed. I woke up for some reason at 1:30 am and was wide awake for about three hours. My right calf was annoying me, it felt crampy though I am not prone to cramp. I stretched it out a few times and was fine when I woke up in the morning.

I was intending on going for a short offroad ride in the morning but felt like death warmed up when the alarm went off, so I helped Jez get some kit ready and off he went to ride without me (though not on his own at least). I did intend to go back to sleep for an hour or two but the cat had other ideas and kept trampling on my head and yowling at me demanding to be fed. When I got downstairs he already had food, little pest.

As I was up I got dressed and had an espresso, then a larger espresso and I was just about awake. I was feeling pretty stiff so had a half hour stretching session which mobilised things nicely. At about 1:30 I was still feeling out of it but thought I would take the Spesh out for a trundle somewhere to try to perk me up and work up a bit of an appetite as I was supposed to be going to a 4 course Burns night meal in the evening.

I fancied checking out a bit of the Ribble Cycleway from London Road to the Tickled Trout at least. I brightened up immediately I was outside, helped by the sunshine and cold wind. I headed to London Road and saw the signs for the cycleway. As I passed the pub (Bridge Inn?) there were two wide tracks to choose from but no signs, well there were but I'd not noticed them.

So I took the straight ahead track for a bit but it seemed to be heading away from the river and I thought the track would follow it closely, so I turned back. I then took the other track but came round a bend to be faced with a barriers, a car parked in front of it and three men stood behind the car, one with a rifle complete with telescopic sight. Ooo er!

They told me not to mind the gun and were friendly enough! I asked them which way the Ribble Cycle path went and they directed me back onto the other track. I headed back to the pub to start again and then noticed the blue cycle path signs pointing straight ahead.

It was well surfaced track for most of it, lots of gates, and slightly strange arrangement in the cycle gates with opening one gate, pushing bike into little enclosure thing, shutting that gate behind you then opening the one perpendicular to the last one and reversing bike out. I'm not sure if this path is for horse use but if it is then the only way to get a horse through some of the double gates would be to reverse it. When I used to ride horses a lot none of them were overly keen on reversing (unless they were being contrary and were supposed to be going forwards).

There was also a nice deposit of stinking slurry left by a large tractor cutting over the path, it stunk and covered my tyres in crap. If there wasn't a funny double gate set up there was the choice of a single gate on one side of the big gate or a narrow cattle grid on the other side. I nearly slid out on the first grid as my tyres were covered in slurry and it had to be approached at an angle. Luckily, as it was so narrow it was easy to grab the fence and get a foot down before I slid out completely. I took the non-grid option next time.

By this time the track was following the river, they had done some work on putting some flood defences in as obviously part of the track had been washed away by the river. Lots of the vegetation at the side was flattened but I couldn't make up my mind if the river was high or not as I had no idea what it normally looks like near here. The track became woodland hard pack complete with patches of slippy mud rather than tarmac for a while then it became a quite narrow bumpy tarmac singletrack rather than the wide tarmac of before.

I got to the Tickled Trout and headed back the way I came. The trundle outwards was really easy as I had the wind behind me. It was fairly slow progress riding back against the wind. I then cycled over to Booths to pick up some sugar before heading home.

16 miles of bimbling which helped my legs a lot but seemed to give my face really bad windburn, I wasn't out that long so may be cumulative effects of two days but its really stinging.

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