Loaded up the bike to mimic a full itt attempt/trip as I accidentally purchased a BB200 ticket in the panic
Got some compliments and queries preride about the weight of the bike which left me feeling like, maybe I could win a weigh in competition (but quickly put paid to that as it would mean foregoing some essential sleeping kit*) on one of the events.
So, todays ride was essentially my first big slog fully loaded (the only thing I didnt have which I probably would take on a 24H or 36H trip was my heavy army goretex overpants). The route, made many moons ago and appropriately named 'Dont Be Soft', has needed testing for some time. It contains as much 'the long green dashed line' as I could find near me on the OS maps. It goes towards the North Peaks and back round to mine...
Departed at around 1300. First 10 miles or so were nice enough with plenty singletrack and interesting bits. Most noteworthy of these being the rock garden towards the end of them 10 miles and then some bog trotting after that (luckily there was only one bog I got ankle deep in and that was only cos I couldn't believe it could be boggy after all this sunshine)... Bogs, rock garden... Yay. Sounds decent for a training ride.
Then at around mile 15 to 20ish there seemed to be an unusual ampunt of road and I started thinking I needs to go back and look at my route building skills. But then it happened...
Tussocks (not as bad as Wales but tussocks all the same) for a few 100m. Maybe not as bad as I managed to get past on bike somehow. Then at some point a wrong turn meant I had to go past a farmer getting told by his missus. I managed to get past their trucks and sharp industrial machinery and join the path which was obviously a footpath through their Maize. Managed to make it through without ruining the crops and out on other end where I refound the bridleway: overgrown... Yay
Then a stream crossing where I decided it would be good for some skinny dipping to build character and become at one with it: in the interests of future fords come rivers and whatnot. Obviously there was a lovely bridge right next door but not for me on this occassion. I tried to find the deepest section and truddled through it. Then gave the bike a little wash as it turned out there was a bit as deep as the axle I could get to
By this time I was starting to become northbound again so on way home.... Heat was bad and I worried of running out of water (I had taken 2.5L which turned out spot on). At some point between it all I decided the railway crossing was the significant section to have my reward of ginger beer (Old Jamaican) so I had that here after crossing. Noticed that they only want you to 'stop, look, listen'... But no thinking involved. Wonder whether its specific to railway crossings that one need not think as they might not cross
or something of that sort
Other notable mentions:
When there was 25 miles to go I got worried my pedals were giving up (superlight things that trump xtr even on the scales... but they are rather cheap crap). I thought of Luke whos pedal-stopped-play on the Braunton150. Gave them a quick tightening with my industrial grade allen set and continued.
Before departing I had made ablution (hands/feet/arms/face washed) and set off in the hope I'd find somewhere to pray out on the trails. I did find a spot but it was on a farmers land and said farmer it turned out was in his tractor doing farming stuff to the grass. Whildt praying I did wonder if I was gonna hear an 'Oi'... Thankfully he was a nice Peaks farmer and allowed it. I wuickly finished my prayers and was off (tried to wave thanks but he was over the mound with his tractor at that point)...
Lastly, but not leastly... The bars. My new shiny Sooge bars with extra back sweep of 19 degrees. Around 12 degrees more than my Nukeproofs. Didn't seem to be doing it for me as my hands seemed to want to not angle themselves to the sides. Am I just one of them that rides hands facing forward!! Anyway, fortunately the bar ends saved the day and not too much hands numbness (more research and mods needed)...
All in all.. A successful route which mudt have been tough for me. Cos at the time of writing I decided i need to make my coffee first. Ground it in a pestle/mortar. Then went to put water from bottle into kettle to boil. Instead of putting the water in the kettle I poured straight into the pestle/mortar!!
*Then become way over my head when the light goes down in them there Welsh hills and then feel sorry for myself when am tired and wanting to sleep but withiut any decent kit