At a loose-end so took my Soul in the car to work. Left work in a slight kerfuffle and as i accelerated out of the Sockburn Roundabout i noticed a shadow fall in my rearview mirror (thinking to myself, "big low flying bird?") then double-took and saw MY SHOES! ON the ROAD! FUCK!!! Managed to pull over just before the Sockburn Overbridge, on the bikelane, hazard lights on and ran back, in the howling nor'west wind, watching cars and full truck and trailer units running them over... my socks, which had been stuffed inside one shoe had blown backwards, thanks to the nor'wester one was in the gutter the other on the berm. I rescued them then grabbed my chance to get the shoes just before more trucks ran them over... pure luck on my side, neither was scathed, requiring just the heels to be sort of unfolded... far. out.
Drove from there, without event, to Halswell Quarry Park carpark on Cashmere Rd, parked as near to the shade as possible and got myself ready. Took off, up the road towards Westmorland and beyond, and before i'd reached the top of the first rise realised i'd left a banana on the top of the car this time. What the fuck is it with me and leaving shit on the top of the car today!? turned back, grabbed it and finally my ride could begin. Back on the road and round the foots of the hills, mostly with the NW'er pushing me. Following much the same pattern as this ride with Chris, into Happy Home Rd, round and up, down through the park, left down to Cashmere Stream, right, along briefly to cross poncy Penruddock, and onwards down Stream on tight singletrack sneaking along til it widens out and you're in the backyards of Holbrook Way. Then up that and through a reserve, crossing Hadleigh and up into the main reserve with the valley,and cool wee track up. the heat was really getting to me once i started climbing, walking all the steepest bastards. Once up on the zigzags that lead to Worsleys i was warming up and managed all of it. Over the stile, and up the road, another rider in close pursuit.
Hit the dirt and headed straight into the singletrack, figuring it might be nicer in the shade. found some of the tight pinches a bit painful so bailed back onto the main drag at the corner with the gate. Climbed slowly and blew it numerous times in the rutzones, the heat really brain-fading and befuddling me. And as for the body bag? Barely made it to the steepest bit near the top before i got off and walked. Just. Too. Hot.
Gasping, i managed the climb to top of the Nun where i sat down and ate my banana, cooling off and resting goooooood. Hit the trail and had a sweeeeeeeeeeeet run. Trail fresh in my head from Tuesday, everything just pieced together really nicely, and i flew down the hill, all the way to the bottom, jumping everything and flowing beautifully. Turned up the road and treadled my way round and up and over to Kennedys, taking a sneaky detour before reaching it.
Kennedys top blew me away. Its overgrown so much, what used to be a wide 4wd/farm track at the start is now a tight ribbon of singletrack wending through overgrown broom and the odd gorse plant. Kinda better. It widens up before the first stile, and is as i remembered from there on. The steep top section is as rocky and rutty as i remember, and i flew down this towards the first gate and two girls walking up nearly losing it right next to them in a rocky rut whilst avoiding them and the abundant belted galloways. On down it smoothes up a little, tho is still pretty bumpy, but fast!
As i crested one of the rises half way down i stopped to look at a fire raging out Prebbleton way (turns out it was the mushroom factory there). I'd spotted the smoke earlier, from top of Worsley, but now i could actually see the flames. Massive fire. On down, blasting down the last straight towards the Siberia gate, having to change ruts due to some dumb-arse rider coming up.
Rode over Siberia singletrack and hit the fun swoopy down hill, yielding to a couple of uphillers, and blazed on down, singletrack tight and awesome, grass just the right height. Into the Crocodile and the music in my ears was perfect, railing berms, pumping each riser, flow, flow, flow. Blew out the climb, but continued my merry way down the squiggles and out into the open. Towards the bottom i peeled a quick right and up to another little singletrack that took me to the car.