Friday, 19 February 2010

Winter Hill (again - though not as I know it) bike that is. I decided against running the race last week, I'm still seeing a physio about my knee and she has said I shouldn't run just now and stick to cycling so that's what I did. She strapped my kneecap up again, saying that it helps it track properly, last time she did that it did seem to feel better while the strapping was on.

We drove up last Saturday with my bike strapped on a rack, it's the first time I have taken the bike anywhere like that and the wife commented on why I didn't drive so carefully when there's only her and the kids in the car. My plan Sunday morning was to get out as it came light and take a scenic route up to Winter Hill and watch some of the race.

It wasn't half cold in the 'valleys', by that I mean the fields behind Billinge Hill and the Douglas Valley between Ashurst Beacon and Parbold Hill. It was still thick with fog when I got there and I had to stop when I first entered the mist to put a hat on my ears were freezing. Billinge Hill was a bit of a shock so early in the morning but at least it got me warmed up. I stopped on Parbold Hill outside the 'Wiggin Tree', though it's not called that any more! There was a nice view here above the mist. Then around the lanes behind Harrock Hill I made my way through Coppull towards Rivington then through Horwich and up to the mast.

I was going to watch the start from the barn but decided instead to just head up to the top of the ramp and watch the leaders come through. By the time I got to the first crossing of the mast road the runners were already heading through so I stopped there for a bit, I could do with the rest anyway. Then I trundled up past the mast to wait by the gate at the top of the ramp. You could see the runners on the horizon running down to the woods, I was a little envious and it wasn't long before Danny and Rob Hope appeared on the path racing up the hill. It's not often I have seen the sharp end like that and it was surprising how comfortable they looked.

I stuck around for a bit and chatted to a couple of other people, another guy who had cycled up there said he has run the race in the past but can't at the moment due to a problem with his knee! I was getting cold stood around so headed home.

I really enjoyed the ride out, I think I did about 50miles taking in Billinge Hill, Ashurst Beacon, Parbold Hill and Winter Hill and felt riding home that I could have stayed out all day, apart from the cold feet. That evening we took the kids bowling then back to Mark's for an indian. Mark dug his foam roller out and I gave it a go, not sure if this was the main cause but the day after my knee did seem to feel much better? That may have been partly due to the strapping but that had fallen off by the time I got home at the end of the ride.

Tomorrow is more of the same, I'm getting the train back from Euston tonight and weather permitting will head out early again in the morning. I need to sort my gearing and front brakes out (they judder) before trying anything steeper though. Roll on next Sunday when I'm hoping to do the Kentish Killer.

I tried to persuade Mark to enter By Lake, Ridge and Wainwright the weekend after easter since we're up north then but he was having none of it!!.

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