A reconnaissance trip, and meeting my first pen pal.

MoiA great day yesterday indulging my hobby by going to do a recce of parts of the route for the Three Peaks cyclocross, which’ll take place a week on Sunday. Whilst I’ve ridden the course 11 times, it’s always worth a recce on certain parts of the course because the nature of the upland paths are such that they change dramatically each year through erosion.

With much of the event being on private land, there are only certain parts of the course you can legally recce, and fewer of those you can legally cycle upon, but it’s worth putting in an afternoon of meticulous inspection. The lines we decided upon on the descent of Whernside two years ago are no longer appropriate, and the path has generally deteriorated at quite a surprising rate. At the extent of the Blea Moor bridleway Lewis, Stuart and I ‘hid’ our bikes in the spike rushes and continued up to the summit path of Whernside, and must have looked more than slightly off jogging along in our full cycling gear, Helmets and all.

Nearly back at the car at Ribblehead, I fell heavily for apparently no reason at all. Straight over the bars and humiliated in the grass. On going back to inspect the grass I’d just ridden over, I found a very well disguised overgrown rut. A reminder to be wary, and a whopping thigh bruise in case I tried to forget.

Penyghent We popped down to Horton in Ribblesdale for a quick recce of the Scar Road which takes riders a third of the way up – and down – Penyghent. Again, it was a wothwhile trip in that it refreshed the memory and helped us to pick a sneaky line or two for both the climb and the descent. Okay, so we’re talking seconds of difference, but if you took a bad line and crashed or punctured as a result, those seconds are significantly more.

The short excursion up this track also gave me the opportunity to finally meet one of my Flickr contacts. I discovered Andy Rushforth’s photos of the three peaks two years ago and we have since shared comments on each other’s photos regularly – this is the modern day equivalent of a pen friend – something I’ve never had. Knowing that Andy was a Horton resident, I asked him if he wanted to come out on his MTB to meet up with us and take a few snaps. I was really pleased when he said he could, and he didn’t disappoint – snapping away and having the opportunity to chat whilst Stuart fumbled fruitlessly with a split tubular on his bike.

A great day out. My pics from the phone camera here.