In the afternoon I decided to go and investigate a route over to Witton Park, I have an XC race there next month and fancy riding over. Jez also headed off there to fly his helicopter so I could meet him there and if for any reason I CBA'd riding back I could get a lift.
I had been looking at the map for a while, dithered a bit over which bike to take, Ribble or Spesh? If I took the Ribble I could put the route into the Garmin but I wasn't sure on the condition of some of the tracks. I decided on the Spesh, I would take a map and navigate my way over and take my time. I also had a triple MTB ratio setup on the front of the Spesh (road 11-23 on rear but should be low enough) for any cheeky hills, its not the best bike for climbing.
I chucked a lock and some biscuits into the pannier and set off around 2pm, into the murk. I headed out through Bamber Bridge, over and under motorways generally heading for Hoghton Tower. These roads were really nice and quiet and climbed up but nicely, not like the main road. I popped out on the main road near the Tower then headed off into Hoghton Bottoms. This was all new territory, gorgeous area though just a shame it was such a gloomy day.
Down in Hoghton Bottoms I came off the road onto a track, it was this I wanted to check out to see if it was road bikeable. On a dry day probably but it was wet, muddy and fairly bumpy. I have to say the tyres on the Spesh coped admirably it was only when I came to a steep climb that they eventually spun out in the mud, they are "touring tyres".
I had intended to drop into granny and sit and spin up the climb in order to try and keep traction but I couldn't get it to shift down into granny. A distant recollection came back of the front mech on this bike being set not to drop to granny. I never used to have a granny ring on this bike in its commuter set up but the current bottom bracket needed it for chainline reasons.
I was going to have to stand, the climb was muddy and rocky so I didn't think I would get far but I surprised myself by getting 3/4 of the way up before the tyres spun out on some soft mud. I pushed up the last bit, moved through a couple of gates then rolled down into Witton Park and found Jez. I troughed a couple of biscuits and watched him throw the heli around (woo, not!) before deciding I was cold and heading back.
I rode back on the main road until past Hoghton Tower then dropped down through the lanes to Bamber Bridge, I have to say it was much less hassle that way.
20 miles of bimbling and I got to discover even more about the local area. May think about coming out Hoghton Tower way for a run it really was lovely.