Thursday, 10 September 2015

The 3 Amigos ride again

It's been sometime since the 3 Amigo's have ridden together. I haven't seen Lee in months, what with not getting out and riding as much and then of course we all have our various jobs and different lifestyles and things to be doing. John on the other hand I see quite a bit of, well when I have been feeling well.

Anyhoo today was to be a special day and a chance for us all to have a catch up. Lee and John had done most of the arranging via Facebook and I just said "yeah I'll come along". The weather was supposed to be nice and we decided a route which would take us to Parkhead Cafe. It's round about a 37 mile there and back and the stop at the cafe halfway is always a welcome treat.

John arrived at my house for about 7:45 am and in typical fashion I was late. I always and i mean always lose something. This morning I couldn't find my Endura shorts and Arctic ONE Buff. Ern has been on sorting my inner wardrobes shelving in my room and everything is disorganised so my Ocd type layout of clothing which goes something like long sleeved shirts in colour order, short sleeved shirts with collars, T Shirts, Jeans, then casual shorts and then mountain bike gear colour organised was in total disarray. At the moment I have mountain bike gear with long sleeved dress shirts and shorts with other shorts that aren't mountain bike ones...Ok I'm going to stop writing about that as it's stressing me lol. You get the idea chaos in my room.

Eventually I discovered my Endura shorts hiding on the bottom rail and my Buff was where I had last put it in my Camelbak. Job sorted. I got my Fat Bike out and John and I headed over for Lee. Lee was almost ready and we were soon on the roll, heading over to the Font so that lee could grab a few quid out of the Post Office Speedbank.

We rode up past the entrance to South Moor Golf course and past the new housing estate, going up towards South Moor. A quick ride up Popular Street and we were soon at the bottom of the Black Path and heading up it to the top and Langley View. Soon we were over the road and up to the Morrison and his is where we got on the C2C. From there it's straight up to Parkhead, taking in Leadgate and Consett, before coming to Waskerley.
The 3 Amigos

The day started off quite dull, however this dullness burnt off as we got past Waskerley Way. I stopped the lads as I was melting and took off my base layer, preferring to just ride with a short sleeved jersey. The ride up to Waskerley can be tough if you have a head wind, but today was beautiful. As we neared Waskerley Reservoir I mentioned to John that today I was struggling a lot more than when  we had rode up the previous week. It's obviously the chemotherapy kicking in. I generally start off ok, then all of a sudden it just hits me and I come over all knackered. Reaching Parkhead Cafe came at just the right time I needed sustenance and got this in the shape of a full English, complete with 3 large cups of tea, oh and a slice of chocolate cake which Lee very kindly bought us. Inside the cafe I got talking to two really canny lads, they were interested in my BTK and after having a bit friendly banter it turned out we knew a joint acquaintance, it's a small world.

Ok now full up and ready for the return trip. The ride back is mainly downhill, not that it really matters on my Fat Bike I still have to pedal when the lads are coasting as there is just so much resistance in my Surly Nates. When we got down past Smiddy Shore and were approaching Waskerley I stopped Lee and John and asked them if they had ever seen the small church across the way from these two beautiful houses. They both replied "no" so  I pointed them over to the church and showed them the way. My friend Al and I discovered this church last year whilst we were on a bivving adventure. As we rode past the 2 houses I noticed a lady in her back drive so went over to her gate and very politely asked "excuse me do yo know anything about the history of the church". The lady said "erm yes" and began to tell me a lot about the small church and then went on to say "it's actually open if you would like a look inside". Of course we wanted to see what it was like so I thanked her and went over to the lads saying "Oh it's open we can go and have a look inside".

A little bit of history here

Inside Waskerley Church


Looking through the window
Outside Waskerley church
The church is named Waskerley Church and it is ever such a quaint little building. (Mavis) as I was to discover the ladies name who I had spoken to and her husband  maintain the church and have put a collection of photo's and stories together inside telling of the story of the church and the surrounding area. It is all very, very interesting. We all learnt so much I didn't know there was a village here, with a school, dance hall and other buildings. Once per month there is a church service. Lee, John and myself really enjoyed our look around I signed the guest book and we had a small whip round to pop some money in the collection box. I think it's a real shame that we are losing local places full of history like this and I have to say I think Mavis who is a lovely friendly lady and her husband are doing a sterling job in looking after the church.
My note in the guest book

John and Lee at the church

The house next door to Mavis is for sale and I only wish I had the money to buy it as it is my idea of heaven. Right on the cycle route and the views across the valley are amazing. Ahh well I can dream lol.

After thanking Mavis ever so much for her history lesson and taking the time out to chat to us we set off again. We got our eye on a public footpath so decided to risk and off road adventure and headed down it. This was to prove the most fun. The trail was very bumpy and rocky as it descended down and down some more. Eventually it came out at a sort of cross roads and we just went straight on. This is where it became very wet and boggy and un-rideable in places. It was sto prove quite hilarious especially when I fell over twice my good foot going in a muddy hole and right over my shoe. I attempted to ride everything I could on my Fat Bike, where as John and Lee preferred to pick up their bikes and walk. Notice I said attempted as it didn't go to plan and I bailed on a few occasions. John was creased laughing when I hit a huge marshy, boggy area and again my good foot sank over my ankle.

John and Lee coming down the trail
Little Ole Me
Having Fun
During our voyage of discovery we came upon quite a few decent bivvi spots, but I can't tell you where as lee likes to keep things top secret in case we come back and are "discovered" as he puts it. Bivving is like an undercover black ops mission, all done stealthy, we are very clandestine lol.

Lee content with his newly discovered bivvi spot

Riding towards the fields
Riding through the fields we now found ourselves in was tough going and we got lost on a few occasions. Struggling to find a break in the walls or fence. Eventually we found away out. This required climbing over numerous gates and a style, before coming back out onto the road and heading up to get back on the C2C route.
The Sandman

John and lee
Once on the route John suggested we go and explore the caves underneath the Hownsgill Viaduct. Ahh why not. It's a pretty amazing place and not what you would expect to see in this region. We had a little look around, before heading back up on the C2C route again. By this time I was choking for a drink I had ran out of water, so we called into MacDonald's and I bought a gorgeous Iced Berry drink, then proceeded to get a Brain Freeze. I love the stuff but I'm always so eager to get it down it hurts lol.

Looking at Hownsgill Viaduct
I have run out of water
Looking up the rock face
Checking out the caves
The caves
View of the inside

Nice Flare
Random fluffy thingy
From MacDonald's it was a very slow ride home for me. I was absolutely wrecked. In fact I'm thinking maybe I have maybe over done it just a tad as I'm still just soooo tired tonight. I will maybe have a rest tomorrow, maybe I said.

What a great day it's been. Spending time with really good friends, nice weather, and good food. Meeting people , learning new things, yep a good day. I feel so lucky at the moment, yeah there is still lots of crap going on in my life, but I don't know it just isn't at the forefront of my mind as all this other good stuff and good people are looking out for me.

Guess I'll end there huh?

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