Monday, 26 May 2008

Derwent Country Park

We had another bike ride today to look at possible race courses. It lasted about 4 hours with a break in the middle for a picnic. Also a break to fix Bob’s punctured tire; and another break for me to recover from a fall off my bike. I only have scrapes and bruises, but I’ll be 52 at the end of this month and I’m wondering if that’s a little old to be falling off mountain bikes.

We stopped for our lunch by this rock formation -- "public art" I'm sure someone calls it. It was at a cross roads of trails and across from the style and the path down to the river, shown at the end of this post. It was a lovely walk down the path, but we stayed at the top rather than leave the bikes. We sat and ate in the sunshine, with the stone wall as shelter from the wind. Bill and I took grilled chicken strips, fruit salad and a carrot and raisin salad. John brought tortilla wraps, pork pies and 'Harrogate cold tea fruit cake', which he generously shared. Bob brought a flask of tea, which is par for him.

This was Bob's first day on a bike in over 15 years; he also had a bad cold that made the up hill climbs even harder. I think considering those two factors he did brilliantly.

John and Bill were both on road bikes so I had a small advantage on the rough terrain, but I’m a huge chicken going down hill on gravel. I have a permanent dent in my left thigh from a fall several years ago. I was trying to stop on a gravel road and ended up in a pretzel with my own weight pressing the bicycyle into my leg. I remember it took me quite a while to figure out how to extract myself as I was on my own.

John and Bill were both on hand this time, where the problem was the steep down hill and the big rocks. I was lucky that I ended up in a ditch with the bike mainly on top of the ditch instead of me. I still managed to land in a way that required assistance to get untangled. I never understand how I do that.

It’s been a glorious day today, as you can see from these pictures. There were lots of families out with children and dogs, prams (perambulators), tricycles, bikes. John and Bill think we have identified about a 10 mile race course. Bob and I aren’t as certain, but our judgement might be coloured by our cycling experiences. We’ll have to go back and run the course to make a further assessment; I may have to just let the guys go to that by themselves, we’ll see.

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