As a mountain biker of just six months’ experience I can’t stress just how much ‘I’m loving it’. From beginner rides in the Peaks, scuttles around the dog-infested Tame valley paths in Stockport, to hacks around the Industrial Fells and a blast around Llandegla Forest, it’s all been ace.
But there’s one place that has just left me firstly horrified and now, after tackling it for a second time, frankly, bemused.
The place I dread to tread is the so-called Stoodley Pike Rock Garden.
This weekend’s foray into this masochistic temple of doom started so well. A climb and blast down some rocky fireroads with plenty to occupy my Rockhopper and then a tricky rasp up to a pub that you really do want to clean.
Next it was around the reservoir and onto sandy tracts of singletrack cutting through the peat.
Then it all goes wrong for me and my hardtail. The first warning is a stepping stone path that gives your arse some jackhammer action as a little hors d’oeuvre for the main course.
Then, really?, surely?, it’s just a series of rocky tussocks which ascend to a war monument.
The ‘cheeky’ path, is cheeky enough to disappear into a tumult of stones and rock every ten seconds so you’re off and on like whore with a habit.
It’s a form of torture which should surely be raised with the European Court of Human Rights. There’s no good descents, unless you enjoy hurtling down dangerous five second drops once in a while.
May be the way back is better but then again, it’s not; it’s just more pain.
Thing is, if, as the somewhat muddy Smithy reckoned afterwards, biking is pain then Stoodley is heaven. But what’s with the ‘pain’? I’m replacing it with ‘fun’ for the reason I’m doing it.
Punk Rock Pater says he wants to do it without putting a foot down. I say that’s just got to be impossible.
If there’s one thing that’s come out of it, it’s that my codpiece got so much grief I’m looking at full bouncers. But I just can’t see me ever wanting to do it on anything but a fucking monster truck.
So all you worshippers of this sacred place should know: The pagan god of yonder Stoodley doesn’t exist.