Ali decided she wanted her own say on the weekend so here is her account:
Hello Everybody! Welcome to my first EVER blog thing.
So, Trio invited me to join her on her latest adventure - albeit invited me to do a very feeble version. After last weeks Southport trip (a whole 72miles) I was most insulted by the thought that the whole adventure - a mere 45 miles eash way over 2 days - would be too much for me! So I insisted on doing the whole route. What I hadn't bargained for (despite having helped plot the route) was the fact that the way to Gisburn Forest was a WHOLE lot hillier than the way to Southport.
So we headed off bright and early (10.30am) on Saturday. I complained a bit (or a lot) about being tired right from the start but we were soon nearly at Blackburn after lots of bits of trails that I already knew. Around this point my legs fell off, or that's what it felt like, so lots of thanks to Trio for pushing me up some of the hills around this point. I was also concerned that despite me being on my full-sus bike, Trio was beating me down the technical downs by MILES on her fully rigid SS. I sense I need to improve in this....
By the time we reached Waddington (definitely not Warrington - this was a constant source of amusement to Trio) which was my last chance to go home for the night, I seemed to have found some extra energy - thanks to Mr Kipling's angel slices - so we kept on going. Through West Bradford and a few more places too, and then across a crazy river/valley/cliff type thing that Trio & Jon had been to before. I managed to navigate that, and we stopped for another little cake stop in a farmer's field before heading on to the pub stop.
To say I was glad to reach the pub would be an understatement! A couple of pints later, and plenty of food too, we were ready to head off to the bivvy spot. We cycled into Gisburn forest and tried out some of the new trails. The swoopy berms were a bit much for me after the miles so I was a bit of a wimp and will have to try them again, but we'd soon got our little spot for the night, just as it was getting dark. I slept pretty well, but woke to discover that our bivvy trip had again been gate-crashed by not one, not two, but THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of horrible little midges. I curled up further into my bag, while Trio for some inexplicable reason, decided to get up and confront them!!! Needless to say, the midges won that battle!!
I gave up the battle of staying asleep at about 5ish, and didn't hang around to have breakfast (unusual for me) before heading off onto the trails. It took longer than I had thought to get to the car park in Gisburn Forest, and I was glad to stop there for my cereal which perked me up loads! Some more climbing and then decision time - was I going to cycle all the way home or get the train?
I decided I'd like to try to get up this hill I'd heard everyone talking about - Nick O' Pendle - and there was a possible cut-back to the station after it. Well, I was expecting this to be a REAL NASTY challenge, particularly with how I'd been feeling the day before, but I found it ok and was suprised when I was at the top - I thought there'd be another bit to go! I thought some of the other climbs on the adventure were a lot tougher, particularly the nasty climb out of Accrington-ish (although as Trio points out that wasn't actually a road..hmmm..).
So after making it up there, I was all for the trip home (as I had decided there were no more hills to confront). I was a little bit wrong on this front, as further studying on the map revealed a worrying number of "arrowed" roads. My worries weren't helped when, during our next food stop, the heavens opened. We still had over 20 miles to do and my enthusiasm was waning!
Not to worry though - as once I got going again I was fine (and the rain eased off). A few more climbs and a bit of an adventure in discovering where the bridleway crossed the motorway - thank goodness I didn't have to carry my bike up the vertical banking (as suggested by Trio) - and we were descending down towards Haslingden. A lovely bit of trail, and I would love to give it another go.
Then just home along the road and a nice bubble bath to:
a) Remove the midges, and
b) Soak my aching limbs!