Smile if you like gravel

Last week I had one of the most enjoyable bike rides I’ve had in a long time (probably my 2nd favourite bike ride behind the Lan Las Ogwen trail – an old slate road that connects Bangor to Ogwen Cottage).

Me and James both met up for our normal Sunday ride to batter it around the Peak District. As the weather is still a bit rubbish we are still on our CX bikes which means big chunky tyres and almost go-anywhere-ability. After taking on three or four pretty serious climbs in the Peak District we dropped into Buxton and, after an inspired decision by James, we hit the Monsal Trail.

For those of you who don’t know, the Monsal Trail is an old Railway line that connects Buxton and Bakewell. It has been turned into 8.5 miles of glorious, traffic free gravely trails. The trail cuts right through the heart of the Peaks, cutting out the big climbs of Monsal Head and Worm Hill (thank god) using old railway tunnel networks.

The stress-free riding of traffic-free trails and the added fun of riding through gravel at 20+ mph was enough to put a massive smile on my face, make me forget about the previous hills and 40 miles in the legs and the fact that it was four degrees and raining.

I’ve said this before in a previous blog post, you need to make training fun every now and then – you should be transported back to that first time you step over the top tube of your bike riding to shops for sweets or racing your mates across the park. You should never lose that sense of adventure. As you can clearly see from my little face I had an amazing time.

If I can offer any advice to anyone training for a big event – it’s not all about the numbers and hours on the bike – so get out and plan your next adventure.

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