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Sunday, 12 February 2012

Trail Time


Hopefully the usual long winter is not going to last so long this year, already we're starting to get the mountain bikes out and soon we'll have enough light for evening road rides again.

Here's a little edit (low resolution) of Chris testing out some new trail sections in the Unknown forest.

video

Monday, 21 November 2011

Sunday sunshine

Setting off from Heaven bikes for the Sunday morning club ride was a lonely affair again this week but the sun was rapidly mowing through the cool morning mist which lifted my spirits. My back still felt weak so I relished the excuse for a gentle ride to aid my recovery and decided on a short route with an easy climb along the Kyle through the old Oak wood then turning at Spinningdale up into the Fairy Glen. The late autumn colours and the leafless trees combined for great views across the spectacular scenery for which there's little else than to give thanks and praise.


Colin

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Cold Sunday

A cold Sunday morning in November, mercifully no ice on the road but still hard to trust the black damp patches on the tarmac. It's not early but the sun has yet to make an impression and it's difficult to believe it will as the cold air burns my throat and reddens my face. My legs are rusty and stiff so my efforts to warm up just shift some of the pain from my toes and fingers into my thighs. The road goes deeper into the Glen and beside the rushing water it's cold, bitterly cold, perhaps the winter leggings wouldn't have been such a bad idea after all. It's hard to relax into the ride, my bike skills are all gone but how long has it been since I rode in daylight? I force myself on, and quicker now that I can see further than the narrow beam of my lights. So what to do? I've reached the bridge, my fingers and toes are painfully cold but I resist the temptation to turn for home and head for the turn out to Amat and the Alladale estate.
Five minutes later and the pain and worry are all forgotten, another road, another track, right there on the doorstep  yet unexplored......


Colin 13/11/11

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Wet Wednesdays

The seventh of September, another wet Wednesday evening, just the ticket for our regular club ride. Great to see Paul from the Ardgay garage come out and thoroughly enjoy himself despite the weather. Five of us set off in reasonable conditions and headed out from "the Unit" at Heaven Bikes for the bridge on the Croick road, somewhere along the way we lost Andy (sneaky shortcut over the footbridge) as the rain started to get heavy.
This week there was no hanging about at the turn and we pulled a faster pace on the return leg as the rain soaked in. The short run out to the road bridge proved to be just enough for the conditions and the available daylight, next week lights will be mandatory with umbrellas optional but highly recommended.

Happy days.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Open the sky and let her come down




Such is the dedication of the Kyle of Sutherland cc that despite torrential rain four riders turned out for the wednesday evening club ride this week. The wet and dark conditions called for a fairly short choice of route but one that proved to hold a good deal of excitement, if not for the riding then purely for the chance to bare witness to the awesome power of nature.

We started a little late, just after seven as we took an extra while to layer up the waterproofs and strap on the neoprene, and headed out of "the unit" into the deluge. Out past the Gledfield primary school we took the left hand turn out to Dounie and splashed our way along the road cornering tentatively through deep floods and loose gravel. Passing along under the low grey clouds we caught glimpses of the Carron river raging to our right but only when the road took us to the bridge did we really get a picture of the sheer power of the water. Six foot waves boiled and smashed below us like the Dudh Kosi in flood, thoughts of a raft were tempered by thoughts of a watery grave!

Turning left we proceeded along through the trees and wild dogs out to the church at Croick were the road turns to gravel and mud as it goes it's own way up Glencalvie to Ullapool. We turned back into the wind and suddenly the work was harder and all seemed much colder but such a magnificent landscape as we are blessed with was plenty to keep our spirits high. Keeping to the northern side of the river we made another couple of stops to absorb the spectacle of the crashing river as it made its way down the gorge down to the Kyle. Chris picked up the pace to tow us all home acroos the flat open sections toward the end of the ride and we rode four up and happy back into Ardgay grateful for the shelter of the unit at Heaven bikes.

I love the rain.

Colin

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Club ride; Wednesday


Club ride this Wednesday! 7pm at Heaven bikes, there may not be many glorious evenings left so come on out for a spin.

Monday, 1 August 2011

To a land of Hope


This past Saturday dawned bright and clear with a promise of warm sunshine so I didn't need to be asked twice to throw the roadie and the camping kit into the van and head off for a trip into the north west corner.
By mid-day Chris and I were on our way from Ardgay in the blancmangemobile up to Altnaharra, across the moors by Allnabad and on to the shores of  Loch Hope. We quickly set up camp in a grassy old quarry beside the road with terrific views down to the loch and the magnificence of Ben Hope standing over us then set off on the bikes.
It was great to get the legs turning and we rode along together on the swooping single-track road that leads to the coast road which is pretty much an epic roller-coaster of joy. The hills took us gleefully down to Loch Eriboll and around its shores to the bridge at Polla and north again through Laid, Portnancon and out to the north coast proper at Rispond. Here we dallied a while enjoying the glorious view across the beautiful sandy beach that screamed out to us for an adventure by kayak, one last hill just for the buzz then back the way we'd come.
Along Loch Eriboll you can see the hills to come across the water, so near and yet so far but big whichever way you look at them. However for every steep grinding up there's an adrenaline pumping down and soon enough we arrived back to our camp with weary legs, hungry bellies but joy in our hearts and minds.
Mercifully we'd stocked up on Smidge at Heaven-bikes because the evening air was still and out came the midges and threatened to ruin the party but not to be beaten we just went for another ride this time back south under the face of Ben Hope. We returned to camp and lit a little fire to ward of the wildlife and sat back drinking coffee and making plans.
And trust me we've got plans....