Thursday, July 24, 2008

A decent ride, finally.

Have finally found some decent internet time to update this not very exhaustive account. As it was nearly two weeks since the last happenings were posted I'll try my best to remember some of the many things we have been up to. Our full day in Edinburgh was much better weather wise & there was even some hope that we wouldn't get wet on our ride.

Dad & I started off our day (Mum was off doing family history stuff) walking up to the top of Calton Hill & checking out the view - could just make out the bridges over the Firth. Then a bit of an explore around New Town - found a very shut Oxford bar (Rebus ties), it was Sunday morning after all. After our walking tiki tour found us at the bottom of the castle (even if we were on the wrong side to enter), we figured there was just enough time to squeeze in a rush tour before lunch. I remember quite enjoying Edinburgh Castle for the view & some of the history (unfortunately after two weeks it's joined the historic-building-haze in my mind). Big rush back to the hostel to change for MTBing & meet Jamie (a uni friend).

Managed to meet up ok, but the first problem was the bike Jamie had borrowed off his wife, Rachel, had not met quick-release & neither of us had the cumbersome tools required to remove the wheels. Nevermind, eventually by turning the handlebars on the stem the trusty Passat saloon (which deserves a posting of its own) swallowed the bike whole & mine fitted on top it & the boot even closed. The drive south to Peebles was uneventful, except for my introduction to Tescos for a lunch on the run - actually, that doesn't really qualify as an event. By now the sun was even out & shining. (I should have savoured that moment for much longer.)

Arriving at Glentress, it was a record time for assembling my bike from its travel bag & we were off in to the forest. A better description would be off up in to the forest - as we pretty much rode up hill for an hour (I hadn't done any exercise of the sort since the first N-Duro in Rotorua some four weeks ago - at least it felt like it). It must be said that the climb was punctuated by a neat little downhill skills section where I perfected my backflip (have watched too much of the Collective's Seasons this week) and also a nice little bit of singletrack. Having made it to the top (Jamie having told me on the way up he used to race nationals) it was time to rip in to some strangely varied singletrack. The first big difference to my normal riding was due to the Scottish rainfall - all the tracks were hard packed gravel so that they are still rideable after big rain. This made for a lot more tyre noise than I was used to. There were some sweet berms & lots of decent sized rocks placed in nice places in the track to keep me on my toes. I was just glad that I didn't have the pogo-forks that Jamie had... A great ride, thanks to the guide.

Back in to the city to meet up with Rachel & Nicola (yet another uni mate over here working) for dinner. They had been up north half way to Aberdeen meeting Dan (you guessed it - uni) & got stuck half way back when the train developed some fault. Never mind, it was great to catch up eventually, get some tips for what to see & have a good meal - haggis wasn't even too bad.

The next morning before leaving, I dragged Mum & Dad up Arthur's Seat for the view (mind you, we could see most of the cloud from sea level) - well worth it. Then off to Oban for two nights; we managed to drive past T in the Park without too many traffic worries - although I was disappointed to learn I had missed R.E.M playing there during the weekend. Once over the Firth, the weather closed in nicely & we would get used to the sight of low cloud.

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