We all have one don’t we?  The route from the back door that has no excuse, no cause for prevarication, no reason not to ride.  Hard enough to make your heart bang, tricky enough to remind yourself what the word technical means, long enough to give you a glow of smug self-satisfaction when it’s completed.In the absence of regular riding partners Shaman, off grooming vampires in Transylvania, and The Sleeve, last heard of in IKEA at 9pm on Saturday evening – “Nightmare” the text read, I’m on my own.  A perfect time to complete the training ride – over Holcombe, Irwell Vale, Valley View, round the quarry at Cowpe Moss and then home.

But two factors conspire against me.  Although it’s been warm (well, above freezing) for the last couple of days there’s ice about.  Every puddle on top of the Hill is solid ice with  coating of water on the top, elsewhere there are huge swathes of ice coating the track.  Surprisingly, you can ride over a lot of this safely – as long as you keep your body still, stay off the brakes and make no attempt to steer.  But it raises your heart rate almost as much as the climb itself.

Secondly, I’ve not ridden much for the last few months.  Christmas is not the healthiest time of year for me, and a diet of chocolate and mince pies hasn’t done much for my fitness.

In the end I don’t ride quite as far as I’d planned:


I think I need o do some training before I do the Training Ride!