Monday, 26 April 2010

the week that was



the plan - t wants to go away with her mother for the weekend. fitting that into my complicated work schedule was getting problematic so why not, i suggested, hire a cottage for a week and do that. t's only been to the tweed valley a couple of times and her mum hadn't been at all. so i hired a place that was only five minutes away from glentress. as you would!

in fact it was even better than that. the trail literally started from our front door so i refused to take the van anywhere for the entire week. t and her mum went off to all manner of places while i lolled on the couch reading and deciding which bike i'd take that day.

i'd taken four bikes. hardtail and suspension mtb, tho sadly and a bit lazily i thought, i didn't use the hardtail at all, and i took the bmc and the trek for the road. i only used the bmc once, discovered the headset wasn't right, got further irritated by the clever but not very adjustable seat and punctured on a stone (on a stone!) with my vapourishly thin race tyres. just as it started to rain. just as i discovered my spare inner had a hole in it. just as my pump broke. ah yes, that was a moment. fortunately there was a signal and it was early morning so t could come out on a rescue mission. the trek on the other hand. the trek was all manner of road bike loveliness. more upright and less aggressive than the bmc, sportive rather than race, it was like riding a pair of slippers. i liked it so much i think i'll buy another one.

anyway, despite my proximity to glentress the road conquered the mtb with the discovery of the ettrick valley. what an amazing road! no cars, no nothing, hills that go on for miles, it was sublime. my head was all full of james hogg ( i only bored t and her mum the once with an extended monologue on the undiscovered joys of confessions of a justified sinner). given that i lived not so far up the road for years i'm astonished i've never cycled around here before. i took the time to take my time, look around, i covered a lot of miles but at a human scale, not enclosed, out on my own.

not that the mountian bike was neglected, i rediscovered the joys of the gypsy glen and was up and down that and around the surrounds as much as my legs would bear. doing gypsy glen followed by glentress after the road rides tho, that was most likely a step too far! glentress i only did the once. even since last year it seems to have been furthered sanitised and despite lack of practice i still found it difficult to push the red descent to a point where i had to engage some skills, let alone brakes. while it's a brilliant resource and just a laugh to go to once in a while, it's not for me. i described latterly as a sort of mountain bike tescos. i'm astonished that the glentress carpark is constantly full while the likes of innerleithen etc still have plenty of space. that said once you're on the hill you see very few people. i think i saw about half a dozen at gt. everywhere i saw no-one. it was wonderful

all good things come to an end tho and by the end of the week i was comprehensively broken. i knew the weeks off with my knee would have an effect but not quite so much. my legs were empty and a couple of rest days were most certainly required. and off we came back to sunny, or not so sunny, home. there were no ba strikes, no volcanic disruption. if we'd been able we'd have booked another place and gone straight back down. tweed valley wins!

9 comments:

kate said...

sounds perfect. i'd love to cycle on a car-less road, i can easily see how skinny won. glad the knee held up.

....maybe i should try memorizing poetry or something to keep my mind busy on these long runs.

swiss said...

anything like that is great for those long solo efforts. i have combinations of tv shows i know the words of, songs i sing in my head, poems i've memorised (and instantly forget!), birds i try to identify by call and, just for the anorak in me i sometimes mull over mathematical or philosophical problems.

i'm not a fan of the ipod. not only does it mark time (or does for me) but when i'm outside i really kind of like the whole outside experience!

sarah said...

what an idyllic holiday (apart from that moment.) it's interesting how you and kate talk of what goes through your mind during long cycles. I used to think alot myself during them, but now with old age my mind is happy just to rest quietly while my body does the work.

Titus said...

Ooh, been to Innerleithen on the back roads this very day.
It is a most beautiful place when the sun is shining. Sorry to say I was the car on the road.
And I got a bit lost with the bike bits. Is this 7 stanes related, or on road, or both?

swiss said...

glentress is indeed the 7stanes place. i was just outside cardrona and my road adventures centred around the b709 past traquair and up over the hill, past the gordon arms hotel and out towards langholm and eskdalemuir (tho the eskdalemuir bit is shut during the day). it may be we're back sometime soonish but i'm definitely down your neck of the woods in july as i'l be doing a race at kirroughtree

sarah, i believe (strongly) you are (much!) younger than me!

Titus said...

Thanks for the clarification. Make sure you put the date of the D and G race up, so that me and the gang can come and ring cow bells, or whatever you do at bike races (actually, we watch that big one that comes through the village every year, whose name completely eludes me). Milk Race? Tour de France? Whatever, they always come past our front door. Together with 64 motorcycle cops, 12 loudhailer vehicles and 70 support cars. It's an hour long extravaganza!

Titus said...

Thanks for the clarification. Make sure you put the date of the D and G race up, so that me and the gang can come and ring cow bells, or whatever you do at bike races (actually, we watch that big one that comes through the village every year, whose name completely eludes me). Milk Race? Tour de France? Whatever, they always come past our front door. Together with 64 motorcycle cops, 12 loudhailer vehicles and 70 support cars. It's an hour long extravaganza!

Dominic Rivron said...

Drily hilarious account, that. Especially the james hogg monologue bit. Isn't it funny how bored people get by stuff that is really interesting?? :)

sunnydunny said...

Came back from a ride through the dunes yesterday (lots of flooded bits on the trail), and sorted out my road bike for a wee riff this weekend.