It’s December, month of Christmas parties, client entertainment, never-ending lunches and dinners and booze everywhere I look. I haven’t been on my bike for the last two weeks, it’s just not possible. I miss it and I’m looking forward to some Peak District action when I visit my folks in Derbyshire over the Christmas break.
Here’s a sneak peek at what I’m looking forward to: Jacob’s Ladder, one of my favourite Peak District descents. I don’t know the rider or the guys who filmed him, but watching it made me want to jump in the car and get myself up north post haste!
I spent last weekend in the Afan Valley, a regular haunt of mine for mountain biking weekends out of London, being as it is the closest of the really good all-mountain style trail centres in the UK.
According to mountainbikingWales, their trails are all weather. And it can’t have escaped anyone’s notice that last weekend’s weather was fairly extreme. A great chance to test out their claim!
So after arriving on Friday night in a howling gale, spending the night listening to the cabin we were staying in creak and bellow as the wind smashed up against it, and then peering through the rain-lashed window the next day wondering what we were up against, we finally got ourselves kitted out for the adventure: cycling shorts, tights, baggies, base layer, jersey, waterproof: ready to go!
We were woefully under-kitted. I don’t know whether there is ANY kit out there that would have kept us dry, but within half an hour the rain had penetrated every bit of clothing: we were all wet through and freezing cold. The only way to stay warm was to keep on going and hope that the heat generated by exertion would outweigh the cold. It did.
And the trails were perfectly ridable. In fact, with very few other people stupid enough to be out, the trails were very quiet – we had the mountain to ourselves. And the weather changed the complexion of trails we all know very well – broken branches, a thick layer of pine needles, heavy, gusting winds and lots of running and standing water makes for a different – if still very ridable – experience.
So – don’t avoid winter riding just because it’s cold – get out there and experience the ‘all weather’ trail!
I’m about to drive to France equipped with a map, a tent and a mountain bike. Planning to hit the GTJ in the Jura Mountains, and some stuff around La Foret du Morvan.
I’ll hopefully come back armed with a load of pictures and some reviews. Might even post while I’m out there if I find a web cafe.
Au revoir, etc.