Unfortunately for you, Day 1 of the Photo Diary of Fun was a fail. Not so much a total fail as an I-was-on-a-first-date-all-afternoon-and-couldn’t-really-take-photos kind of fail. On the upside, from the “all-afternoon” part of that statement, we can take it that the date wasn’t a complete disaster or I’d have cut my losses and legged it a lot earlier! So in lieu of Saturday’s photos, I shall have to give you edited highlights instead. I had a very pleasant lie-in and pottered for the latter part of the morning, before heading out to meet my date in the afternoon. During the date there were:
- at least 2 very nice compliments along the lines of “you’re gorgeous”. Thank you very much.
- one hero incident when he said hold still, leaned over and I thought was going to tuck my hair behind my ear (yeah, you can all go “awwww”) and instead, actually removed a live wasp that was caught crawling in my hair! Eeeep – thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!!!
- a very nice evening walk around the harbour.
- dinner at a rather nice Thai restaurant. He insisted on paying.
Yeah – not a terrible way to spend the day!
I am also pleased to say that I ate sensible breakfasts and lunches, kept my head on the afternoon drinking, and made a sensible choice at dinner (no Thai green curry and coconut rice for me then), and stopped when I was full. Hoorah.
Today has seen rather more of these …
… getting hammered down this ….
Totally by chance, I’d mentioned that I was intending to get away and do some biking at Afan in South Wales to one of the guys at the surf club on Thursday night, and he said that he would be that area of Wales on Sunday and was thinking of riding too. Another lady from the club also wanted in, and very handily lives about 10 min bike from my flat and owns a van. So at half 11 this morning, we piled our bikes in the van and set off to meet Stu in Cwmcarn, which was deemed nearer in the end and more doable.
The weather on the way over was looking atrocious, and we were either going to get absolutely soaked, or end up not hitting the trail at all. I don’t know about anyone else, but we’ve been getting bursts of intense downpours for the last 36 hours or so, and it wasn’t looking any better. As we arrived at the centre, it absolutely started to bucket down, so we decided to eat our sandwiches and see how it was looking. And miraculously, it lightened up, and completely stopped as we headed out!
We did the Twrch trail, which is pretty good. There was a lung-busting climb for the first couple of miles, which was straight up technical single-track, although Catherine and I did duck one short section in favour of the road that the uplift trucks use for the neighbouring downhill course. Typically, our respite turned out to be the shortest section of the climb, so we barely made it ahead of Stu! Then it was back to more climbing and heading up top to the open hillsides. Forest, forest, forest, near vertical sections that none of us made it over, and just when we thought we were done, another section of fire road that seemed to go for … well … miles!
Unfortunately, the skills and freeride park at the top is currently closed for maintenance which disappointed Catherine and Stu, as it is apparently one of the best bits. Not having been before, I didn’t know what I was missing out on, so was quite happy to head straight into all the glorious downhill! Despite not having ridden testing singletrack for a while, I was feeling pretty confident today. So confident in fact that there were a couple of near-misses when I overcooked it, like the tree trunk I tried to go over and slammed the pedal into so hard I thought I’d snapped it off, and I dropped the chain. The result of that was a very impressive triple set of pedal scratches right down the back of my calf (stupid bitey metal pedals!). In fact, I’ve got a few bumps and scrapes, but that usually means I’ve ridden hard. All in all, I was very happy with how well I was committing to the descents though – Cwmcarn isn’t what I would consider hugely technical downhill – it’s pretty straight and largely pretty smooth, just off-camber, narrow and damn steep in parts, but it doesn’t have the steps and drop-offs or lots of the sweeping switch-backs you see elsewhere – in other words it’s a speed-monkey’s delight, because there is absolutely nothing but your own nerve to slow you down.
We were absolutely filthy by the time we made it to the bottom, so we just jet-washed ourselves along with the bikes – wasn’t going to make us much wetter than we already were! Then just as we put the bikes away, the rain came back with a vengeance. It had held off for a perfect 2.5 hour window while we rode – perfect.
I didn’t get many photos as a) I was riding with relatively new-to-me people, and b) I was probably enjoying myself a bit too much to stop! What you can see in the shot of part of the trail though, is how glorious it was when the sun came out and the whole trail was literally steaming itself dry – stunning. Believe you me, the steam was pretty much rolling off me too when we finished!
Back in Bristol, I talked myself out of takeaway, and have even managed to do most of my packing for tomorrow when I head down to Bude for a few days!