An Icy Ride
A strange weekend this weekend as Christmas is nearly here and I have all of next week off work. But Anna and Morgan are at work and school right up until and including the 22nd December. That means that their first official day of holiday is Christmas Day itself! It also meant that the weekend was one that felt a little like it was in limbo – almost Christmas but not quite. We couldn’t get fully into the holiday spirit as Anna and Morgan would be back at school and work on Monday morning but we didn’t have anything arranged either.
An Icy Bike Ride
My new bike had yet to arrive (more on that in another post) but I’d been looking at Mountain Bike events for 2018 and felt the need for a mountain bike ride. Friday Night had seen clear skies so I planned on setting off fairly early. Sure enough, when I looked out of the window at 5am on Saturday, there were stars twinkly back at me and clear skies. The temperature here at sea level was 5ºC so I put on my thermal long-legged bib tights, a thermal base layer and a warm jacket. Gloves, overshoes, a skull cap and a buff were also called for. As of course was a helmet and lights. However, as I sat down to put my overshoes on and leave the house it suddenly started pouring with rain – on went a waterproof jacket as well.
I left the house around 6am in pitch darkness and headed off along the road to the base of the climb known as the Legburners Big Brother. I was going to be too warm with all of this on for the climb so I took the thick jacket off and kept the rain jacket on as it was still pouring with rain. I was on my full-sus bike so was just plodding along as I made my way up the 7 mile climb. As I climbed ever higher the amount of snow around increased and at the top there was even a fresh covering on the track. It was now well below freezing so my thicker jacket went back on as I headed towards the Nant y Moch road. My plan was to ride to Nant y Arian, maybe do a loop of the Pendam Trail and then head home via Bont Goch.
Not long after I was on the road though I came across a huge patch of sheet ice. It was one a bend on a descent and there was nothing I could do. The bike slide out from under me and I hit the deck, hurting my left shoulder, wrist and hip. I noticed later that it also knocked the cap of my bar grip off too. I couldn’t stand back up on the ice as it was just too slippery so had to sit there holding onto my bike sliding to the bottom of the hill.
The rest of the road was equally icy so I spent the next half an hour either trudging through the snow covered tussocky grass to the side of the road or tentatively slip-sliding along the tarmac. There were a few small sections that I could ride but the road was treacherous and even the ruts that we usually ride along the side of the road a little further on were too icy to ride. Eventually I made it to the little climb that takes you up towards the main Conti Descent. There was a road closed sign here so I don’t know how rideable the Conti Descent is but my plan was to turn off onto Sidewinder anyway. It was still very icy along here though with thick ice covering the rocks. The rocks can be a little slippery at the best of times and the ice wasn’t going to help so I was still being extremely cautious. It was very slow going. By the time I made my way towards Syfyddrin I had decided against a loop of the Pendam Trail. The road around the lake was likely to be icy and I didn’t fancy another fall so I had decided to head down towards Bont Goch. I had already been riding / sliding for close to 3 hours already.
There was another Road Closed sign here though so rather than risk having to ride all the way back up I headed up to Hippity Hop, rode down that and then down Ice-Rink and headed home via Penrhyncoch.
I think it must have been one of my slowest rides ever but that was in the most part due to the ice. Mind you, saying that I was taking it very easy even on the climbs as well.
Back at home, my plan to go for a surf ski paddle was scuppered. The wind was blowing a little too much for the seafront and my injuries from the crash were beginning to hurt. Had my shoulder and wrist not been so sore from my earlier crash then I would have gone windsurfing, but I couldn’t do anything without pain so instead had a lazy day at home nursing my injuries.