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!