Saturday, 29 May 2010

My Marathon ride at Kielder.

Wooop Woop!! One of my two goals has been achieved. Back in January I set myself two goals; one to enter a cyclo-cross race and the other to do a marathon ride of 26 miles.  Amazingly, last week in Scotland I achieved one of these; my Marathon ride at Kielder.

BIG thanks go to Amy and Ali who suggested we do the Lakeside Way ride at Kielder Lake.  They have both ridden and enjoyed the ride before and although they had both rode it on Mountain Bikes they assured me that it was completely do-able on a CX bike - as it wasn't a technical trail and it followed a purpose built path.

It seemed a shame not to do it, considering we were staying only about 18 miles away. So, on the Monday after a lovely relaxing sleep in a King sized bed and a breakfast fit for the Queen, it was time to hit the trails.

The drive over to Keilder was pretty and we soon hit our destination - Keilder Castle car park!  We made a quick pitstop at a bikeshop to buy someone who had left his cycling shorts in Cornwall a new pair of shorts! Annoyingly the first shop was shut (despite a huge OPEN sign on its door).  Thankfully, we had seen a bike hire shop en-route so we hopped on our bikes and go see if they sold any shorts.  The shop was tiny but the staff very friendly.  After a chat with the manager we were glad that the other shop hadn't been open as they had pushed this smaller business out of their premises, forcing them to relocate. 

Anyway, with a nice new pair of shorts for Mikey we went to set off.  The manager started to look a little concerned that we weren't on MTB's and said that we may struggle on some parts of the path as it was very rocky. The way he gesticulated the size of the rocks, I started to expect rocks as big as boulders. 

I became a tad un-nerved , now expecting lots of tricky terrain. Ah well, we were here now, whats the worst that could happen?

We headed off around the lake, heading along the North shore. The first 10 miles were super!  Admittedly, as the shop manager had suggested the first section was a tad more rocky, but nothing my fresh legs couldn't handle.  I was having too much fun to worry anyway!  We whizzed along enjoying the scenery - it was so pretty!  We were quite surprised at just how undulating the path was considering that we were following a level lake, but all the ups and downs were fun. 

There was lots to see en route; fantastic landscapes and breathtaking views.  It sounds silly but we really do miss seeing huge old trees. Here in Cornwall all the mining has meant many trees didn't survive as their root systems were disturbed, so the tall forest trees were spectacular.   At one point we saw a Roe deer, bounding over the shrubs.  It was an awesome sight as I've never seen them living in the wild anywhere - other than Tatton park, which doesn't really compare!
We soon reached the half way point, Kielder Dam, and shortly after found a quiet spot to stop for a breather and a spot of lunch - 2 scotch pancakes each and a banana.  Mmm... with energy supplies replenished it was time for the off again. This south shore wasn't half as pretty - in some places it looked quite baron. I'm not sure if it was because of the less inspirational scenery or because since my cycling rediscovery I have never ridden more than 19miles in one go, but at the 20 mile mark, I started to get weary - mentally and physically. Oddly my legs were OK but my shoulders were in agony and my feet burning.  At this point I would have killed for suspension forks and more responsive brakes. The ride got slower and slower as I had to keep stopping and shake my arms and stretch my shoulders. Any downhill was torturous as I tried to pull my brake levers. Severe cramps in my shoulders kept kicking in and I was close to tears.

The pain was unbearable but I was still determined to ride the full 26mile route - walking wasn't an option!  So, despite making slow progress we continued.  A few bunnies and low flying fighter planes kept my mind entertained and off my pain.  I could do this!

Somehow, we made it back to the car. Yay! I had done my 26mile ride. Hang on, I looked at my mileometer - it said 29! Somewhere along the line we had picked up a few extra miles. (I guess the faffing around looking for a bike shop had added more than we had thought)


Simon said...

Nicely done :)

SS:Mtn Biker said...

Very kool,reaching a goal! Huge congradulations your way,and much pride for not only meeting,but exceeding by a few miles!


Red Bike said...

29miles off-road is hard going.
The last time (only time) I rode around Keilder I found it VERY rough.

trio said...

Well Done! It is a ride worth doing, you are right the North Shore is the better of the two. Hope you sat in the giant chairs?

Wonder if the guy thought you were doing the mtb trails? The lakeside trail is meant to be suitable for all, although I felt sorry for the children I saw pushing up the hills! I'm guessing this shop wasn't the big purple mountain one, there they told me the mtb trails were two way - they have no-entry signs so they aren't!

Massive achievement riding 29miles! What is the next target ;-)