The best laid plans of mice and men.....
A few months back, vague talk emerged of riding on the shortest day, 21st of December, from Dawn until dusk, various plans were discussed - the Leadhills, West highland way... But we decided to just ride locally, on the river Ayr way, as it's possible to ride a long way on a variety of trails without too much climbing and is pretty sheltered for lots of the route.
So, with sunrise (aye right) at 8.44, we were off, myself, Robin and Stuart - who hadn't ridden for 3 months (which was good, as it meant robin and I could drop him on the climbs, something that doesn't happen too often!) after a few miles, I had to go back and switch bikes, due to a wee mechanical issue, not the best of starts.
Anyway, onward and upward, we made decent time to get back up to the river trails at Auchincruive, and on through the pyramid wood to stair, failford and then into slightly unchartered territory for me, barskimming estate. Obviously plenty of cash here, and from what I hear, unfriendly owners too, so we boosted up the hill into mauchline, pretty wet and cold by this point as it was about the grimmest morning we'd had this winter.
How lucky were we, finding a wee greasy spoon that didn't mind 3 manky bikers, so nice were they in fact, that they didn't mind the east coaster eating his own pasta. He was welcome to it though, I had a very welcome haggis and cheese panini instead.
Back on our way, it was a wet, cold and horrible wee 3 miles straight into a westerly to get back to failford, and into the shelter of the trails beyond. After negotiating the landslip before stair (that's 3 years now south ayrshire council, get yer finger out) we managed a quick coffee in the stair inn before making the break for home and rolling into prestwick at 4pm, in darkness, wet but happy. Stuart headed back up the road in the van, whilst Robins good lady joined us for dinner and a nice Sunday evening. Sweet. Just under 60K in total, at a sociable pace, which was great.
Another hatched plan, was a Christmas nightride and a spot of food/beer at the village inn, fairlie. Much talk as usual, but the only hardy souls braving the nightride was yours truly and robin. Can ye see a pattern forming here?!.
It was actually a very still, calm night, perfect for nightriding, but the trails were as wet as I've ever seen them, due to the last few weeks deluge. Not a long ride, 19k from Dalry up and over the moor road, and onto the trails, but nice to finish at the inn (there WAS room!) and meet Julie, Stuart and Gavin for a bite to eat and a few beers, before Julie kindly gave me a lift home, avoiding the joys of the Glasgow train at this time of year.
Merry Xmas and a happy new year.