Saturday, November 30, 2013

Chicken soup for the soul....

Robin and I decided to have a wee local spin, exploring trails we hadn't ridden before, in the carrick hills south of Ayr. The ride started off with a 10 mile road ride to fisherton, during which Robin was given a gift, a very special gift, from above. From a seagull, right plum in the middle of his napper. Thank heavens for bike helmets!. Possibly the biggest bird toly I have ever seen!.

So, we headed off the road at fisherton, and climbed, up and up to the forest above, with beautiful views over Arran at one side, and the southern uplands on the other, on a glorious November day. The ground was quite dry, so the going wasn't too hard, up until we got a bit lost, and had to heather bash our way over brown carrick to the road we were aiming for.

Robin can only go so long without a shot of soup, it's an age thing, so further exploration was decided against, as the caf├ęs in the town below were in danger of running out of the life-giving elixir, so we headed down the road and back to Ayr, for soup, rolls and coffee at the secret garden.

We had a right good blether, both of us getting the weeks travails off of our chests, which was good. A wee spin back to chez bowser, and the delights within. Fire, food and possibly a beer. 40k deserves a beer, I'd say.




Sunday, November 24, 2013

Keeping up with the Millers...

Another lovely autumn day, another sweet local ride. Myself and Lloyd headed up the long way on back country roads to failford for a blast down the river Ayr way, the young Miller had never been up past Stair, so this was new territory for him, not that it slowed him down any.

He's now rooming with another student in Glasgow who is a sponsored rider for canyon bikes, and so is out training and riding with him and it's really showing in his riding. Hopefully he'll reciprocate and this will also rub off on yours truly!. A good run of 40k to blow away the cobwebs from yesterday's riding, followed by a nice Sunday roast and a wander down to watch the Christmas lights being turned on in Prestwick. Ideal Sunday really.

This week coming is my backshift week, so I'm planning on either riding or spin class every day, as I think this puffer thing is gonna need all the training I can give.

Late edit - how could I forget! I saw my first kingfisher on the River Ayr too, stunning and a real surprise, a gorgeous flash of brilliant blue.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Basking in the Ayrshire winter sunshine....


Up bright and early this morning, fresh off the nightshift week (I always wake up early on the first normal sleep coming off nights) I had planned to ride the road miles between home and our usual riding spot, fairlie moor. Continuing my plan to get as many miles in as I can before the puffer, I left the house later than planned, I reckoned I would need the guts of two hours to cover the 44 km to the railway station, where I was to meet Robin and Des.

So, as I pedalled up the hill to the station, 15 minutes later than planned, I was preparing my apologies for holding up the ride ahead. No need, as when I got there, I had been stood up. As I checked my phone, I noticed texts to say that Robin was also cycling over from home, so wanted to change the meeting place, and Des was battling his dozenth man-flu of the year, manfully....

So, off I trudged up the climb to meet Robin, and we spent a couple of hours riding about our fave Fairlie trails, which are riding pretty well in spite of the recent weather. I love it up there...







Then we retired to the village inn , for a pint and some salty snacks. I'd really like to have repeated the 44k home, as I was feeling pretty fresh, but Maz had planned to meet friends in the afternoon, and I was struggling for time, so scotrails finest it was.

Back out again tomorrow for some road miles, I hope the weather gods shine again like they did today.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Grinding it out

I've not been posting much recently, due to a combination of a few things really. The riding I have been doing in the past few weeks hasn't been particularly 'exciting' per se, as I'm really just trying to grind out the miles in preparation for the strathpuffer in January. As such, I've not been taking the camera out either, so don't really have much in the way of pictures for the blog either.

So, after a week of road riding and ploughing through the mud on the river Ayr trails, I fancied a ride on an all weather trail, step up the handy trail centre. Robin, Julie and myself headed for kirroughtree and the black route in what turned out to be very mild temperatures. I don't ride trail centres anywhere near as much as I used to, due to a preference for more natural rides these days, but the ready made nature of these places is unquestionably perfect for when the rest of the country is mud-bound.

Jackets were quickly jettisoned, as there wasn't a breath of wind. Lovely.



So, onto my nightshift week, it'll be local nightrides all week, grinding away.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

First cold, crisp nightride

As much as I love a group ride with friends, I also absolutely love solo nightrides, and even more so when conditions were as perfect as last night. A mere 3 degC, not a breath of wind, clear skies and a panorama of stars. The trails were littered with crunchy autumn leaves, hiding the mud and roots below. Brilliant.

I headed up the River Ayr Way, up the long side to Annbank, the first time I've rode that side of the river since spring. Sad to see that the damage that had been done then by cattle breaking through the paltry fence hasn't been repaired, which is purely down to council apathy for not pursuing the farmer to get the damage repaired. You better believe if the shoe was on the other foot the farmer would have been paid handsomely by now.

Just before Annbank, my helmet light gave up the ghost prematurely, that's the second time in a few weeks, so it'll be going back for a wee warranty visit. Fortunately I had a light on the bars too, so could continue on and enjoy the rest of the ride. The woods at Auchincruive were eerily silent, save for the odd owl hoot, and some far distant fireworks, switching the light off and taking in the calm, coal-like darkness is quite something.

I was out for less than two hours, and only covered about 14 miles, but home for before 8.30 for tea and toast, with a rosy glow and a hot shower to look forward to. Bring on winter.