Monday, 2 November 2009

A weekend of biking fun

This weekend I headed up to Peebles in Scotland, just south of Edinburgh with Hallam Cycling. Plan: to ride bikes!

After leaving Waitrose car park 'on time' at 1820 we faced the four hour minibus journey up north. I say on time, but for a bunch of lazy cyclists, 20 minutes late is the best I have ever seen with our usual departure time 60 minutes later than planned. The trip began with a quick visit to Waitrose for beer, and diet coke, as well as a quality comment from Jody... 'What's your name mate? Did you say it was Marcell?' Mike: 'No, it's Michael!' Unfortunately for Mike the name Marcell stuck like glue, and calling him Mike now doesn't seem appropriate!

As per usual I fell asleep laid across 3 chairs in my sleeping bag for most of the trip, and awoke when we hit the bumpy gravel track up to the car park at Glentress which was to be our campsite. We arrived shortly before midnight on friday, and after some more beer, the boys proceeded to search for a suitable place to pitch the tents, which wasn't on the car park gravel nor on the wet and sodden banking! I didn't have an invested interest in putting up tents given that I had opted for sleeping on the minibus floor, so instead, I held the torch.

The boys tents pitched well within the fire zone our Health and Safety officer approved (whilst not quite sober, nor really caring about the closeness of the tents given the rain and late hour)!
Most of the guys didn't sleep all that well, and woke in the morning to find the 'soft' patch of ground was actually mud covered rocks. I couldn't help a small smile at this given that I had slept like a baby for 7 hours in a space barely big enough for my shoulders!

So in the morning it was off for a glorious day of MTB'ing at Innerleithen. We rode up the mountain, down some beautiful sweeping singletrack with bitchin' jumps and berms, turned around and did the top section again because it was just awesome! We then carried on down the mountain with some more berms, rock gardens, big dippers and jumps. Two and a half hours later we arrived happy and muddy in the car park for lunch, before heading back up, but riding up the Downhill push up route and attempting some DH tracks. I passed on this after seeing the beginning of the Matador and the vertical drop and so Bob and I headed around the mountain to find the XC track again. The XC descent was a million miles better the second time around and I made it to the bottom feeling fairly pleased with some of my jumps!
It was then back to Glentress for showers before pitching our tents at Innerleithen on the grass and walking into the village for fish and chips. A small (5 hour) stop at the pub saw the boys getting progressively worse for wear and playing with the two dogs, and me falling asleep curled up on the sofa! Another quality comment from Jody took the boys into hysterics again 'What's your name mate?'
'What did you do when the Darkness split up?'!!!! I suppose if you saw Lee, this comment might make more sense, but a tall thin guy with shoulder length messed up hair might help!

Sunday saw the boys wake up late, and due to missing our minibus driver who had disappeared all weekend with some other mates and decided not to hang out with us, we were a bit stuck on how to make the 7 mile trip to Glentress. I'll just say we made without mishap and leave it at that!

Well....on sunday the 1st November, it rained, and rained and rained some more. My back disc pads wore down to the metal and the cage imploded so I couldn't use the brakes. My waterproof leaked and I was wet through and frozen. The boys drove off to the cafe so I had no dry clothes and got colder. Rode down the hill to the Cafe but somehow missed them and got even colder. Thanks to Bob for the hot chocolate. I was pretty much dripping water by this stage as my kit was so sodden. The boys dragged me out of the cafe and onto the bike where I subsequently couldn't get my hands onto the handlebars without a great deal of concentration, and made me ride back up the hill. At the top my legs were just warm, and I managed to get into dry things before curling up in my sleeping bag. Marcell was good to notice I was non-responsive and hypothermic. I think he got a bit concerned when I stopped shivering, lips went blue, my breathing rate dropped and I stopped waking up to being prodded. Fortunately, knowing the signs of hypothermia, he somehow forced me to drink a bit of tea (yuk) and got the minibus heating on.

Today at work was a bit of an epic. I felt shattered on waking up this morning and felt sick and dizzy at work, as well as feeling pretty vacant. I made it to lunch before heading home for a 3 hour much needed sleep.

That pretty much sums up the weekend. What a great time!