Day off today, but with my winter road bike still in shonky singlespeed mode ( I know, I know..) and some fresh snow overnight I decided to get out on my cross bike, instead of risking (a) a shonky singlespeed related mechanical far from home, (b) a distinct lack of rear brake related crash or (c) a slick tyre lack of traction on snow induced injury.
The Scottish Borders are ideal territory for longer cross bike rides thanks to a fantastic network of very quiet back roads, dirt tracks and well worn hill paths that aren't too technical.
So instead of doing my favourite 3 ish hour road ride from Peebles to Tweedsmuir, Talla and Megget reservoirs, St Marys Loch and back via the Gordon Arms and Traquair, I decided to cut out the first half of road by going straight over the hills from Manor Valley to Megget reservoir. I figured the snow would be quite deep over the top but well, it's all good exercise right?
A beautiful steady pedal to the head of Manor Valley with the sun out and not a sniff of wind was abruptly replaced with a steep uphill plod through the snow. At first maybe 4 or 5 inches but with a little height I was soon floundering through a good foot or so! Oh for a pair of snow shoes!
Still I was having fun and making progress albeit quite slowly. With this much snow around it was a little too easy to walk straight into 3 feet of snow drift. A while later I reached the top of the pass to be met by a herd of sheep looking distinctly unamused at my being there.
With the sun still out I plodded on trying to avoid the main track, complete with suspiciously deep looking snow. Finally the gradient started to point down proper and a little while later I was able to regain the track and start riding. Yippeee! - 10 of the funnest minutes of riding I have done in a while.
At the road I ummmd and aaarrd about taking a wee detour to the Glen cafe but lacking any lights decided instead to press on back to Peebles. Despite having eaten pretty well I started to get a little wobbly the last couple of miles back to town. Stopping at Forsyths i'm glad I only had a fiver on me as I could have eaten everything behind the counter! I settled on a lasagne pie which was bloody brilliant!
A top ride indeed that has left me hungry for more. 4.5hrs all in with around 2hrs of plodding. Anyone fancy a pedal somepoint?