Return of the Ladybower Lungbuster!

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Bank holiday! Been a bit of an action packed one. Had a trip up mac woods, a ramble round thors cave, a trip to yorkshire sculpture park. All good stuff, and mint weather to boot. To cap it off (some would say put the nail in the coffin as ive still got two sore fingers, a dodgy knee and a stiff calf from falling off the other day), theres been this ride up down and around ladybower reservoir. First did it years ago with some good mates (some of whom have given up riding now, some who have settled down with families, others who have fallen by the wayside for whatever other reason) so its been nice to revisit it after a good amount of time and see just how much slower those of us left standing (pedalling?) have got as middle age (and its inevitable spread) gets to us…

After being picked up by M in his new ‘beast’ van and having a picnic in the lounge with a maccy ds breakfast and a flask of coffee (you know how good your hospitality is when mates bring a flask with them), and then spending far too long stuck behind quarry wagons, we eventually made the trail head.

Simple enough route. Up win hill, down the (ledgendary) beast, up hag farm (still some bluebells out here!), down lockerbrook, up the ladybower lungbuster itself and then down past hurkling stones. It was great to retrace our steps from previous years, and holy rattlesnakes batman, those hills definitely havent got any smaller… To be fair, the beast did seem a lot shorter than before, but thats probably more to do with modern bike and brake technology, and you can betcha i like my brakes going down there… One place modern bike technology is actually a bit shit is on the climbs. My legs wont push a 30/42 gear up some of em, i swear it was easier on the hills ten years ago with a proper granny ring up front, but maybe thats ten years of beer and pizza taking its toll…

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Another big revelation this trip was that they actually serve not too rough coffee at fairholmes visitor centre. Nice surpise, as last time i was there it tasted more like bisto than coffee. Other things ive learned include: I need a bigger rucksack since ive discovered an ace shop (bottle lab in leek) up the road that sells all sorts of nice ales in 330ml cans, so the perfect size for a mid-ride refresher. Im also seriously considering getting some knee pads after last weeks tumble. The penalties for bouncing into (rather than off) a rock up here are far greater than when nearer to civilisation, and even without that, im thinking my owd mon joints would thank me for a bit of extra padding when my bicycling aspirations outweigh my abilities.

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Vital Stats for todays trundle: About fifteen miles. 2500 feet of up n down. Couple of stumbles, but no falls and no submissions. Two ham wraps, one coffee, one caramel shortbread, and half a packet of liqourice allsorts (the trail snack of the 21st century). And a big hop hit from one marstons EPA (free), and one black flag fang (rather expensive all things considered). Tune of the day was the mighty bob marley yet again. Im still not totally sure about riding round blasting tunes from a bluetooth speaker, but ive gotta admit, swooping down past hurkling stones as the sun broke through for us, chasing M and listening to these sounds, was a pretty cool moment.

Skids are for Kids yo!

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