Long Mynd Ride – 18th March

Good Samaritan act #2 in glorious sunshine

As soon as I’d got my kit in the washing machine after the Dark Peak ride I set about checking the rear brake on the Paragon as I’d got the Long Mynd ride today. Wheel out, pads looked fine…  So load up the two bleed stringes and fired some fresh fluid up the system. As I pushed the plunger on the caliper syringe, two bubbles appeared in the master cylinder one. I emptied the caliper syringe into the system to flush the old fluid out. It’s not that old, but looked a bit grotty. The result, a nice feeling rear brake again…. happy days 🙂

Not so ‘happy days’ was waking up to the sound of rain on the window, but the forecast had said rain to start the day, but clearing up. Nathan turned up and we headed up the M6 and M54, the sky gradually clearing. By the time we’d got the bikes sorted and kitted up in Church Stretton the sun was shining, but in the shade it was still a bit chilly.

We headed up Carding Mill Valley, both hitting our limits and ending up pushing. As we got to the very top, there was a spotty teenager with his Scott upside down… he’d pinch flatted, changed his tube, but had forgotten to bring his pump. So we stopped and Nathan let him use his pump. While we were there a bloke rode past us and said to me ‘Your mate Mark is on his way up’…… ??? A rider rounded the corner, it was Mark Anstey, I’d been in contact via Facebook, but this was the first time I’d seen him since the St Gervais Alps trip last year! We rode up to the junction with The Port Way chatting. Me and Nathan headed off while he and his ride mates waited for some Carding Mill stragglers.

We headed up to Pole Back to take in the views, and have a break, just as we were leaving Mark and his mates turned up. They were heading off to ride Minton Batch then head back to their cars at Marshbrook, while we were doing Minton Hill. Nathan keen to find a bridleway that runs back from the top of the hill to the start of the Batch. On the hill we couldn’t find the bridleway so decided as we were there we’d do the descent. It was the usual balls out madness, although the grass was dry and less sketchy, the bike pretty much going exactly were you pointed it…. I think I prefer it wet 🙂

We reached the bottom and set off for the Nut Batch fire road climb, when suddenly a sheep dog appeared and had a good bite of my right calf. He ran off into the farm opposite the bottom of the descent. The farmer emerged from his barn on his tractor, when I mentioned it to him he just replyed with “Well he’s never done it before”….. really? It was quite obvious Farmer Palmer didn’t give a shit so we pressed on…. for about 400 yards, when we looked into a field on out right that contained sheep and ostriches! Bizzare! Then Mark turned up again! This ride was getting wierd!

We rode up the Nut Batch climb and then dropped into the wood on the left, riding some of the many motocrosser tracks in there. We decided to ride Minton Batch next so crossed to the tyop of ZigZag and rode alongside the glider club. At the top of the Batch we noticed a lone biker pushing his bike down the road…. it was the lad from earlier! We decided to help him again. Another pinch flat! This time he’d no spare tube so the best of the two he’d got was patched, with his very old repair kit. The patched repair looked like it may not hold so we gassed the tyre up in the hope the tube against the tyre would hold the patches in place. It seemed to work, but we advised him to change it as soon as he could….

He followed us down the Batch, I was following Nathan when a suicidal lamb decided to walk out onto the singletrack and stop…. so I had to, to shoo him out of the way! The lad  turned off to Marshbrook when we hit the road, where he worked in the shop (we were offered discount for helping him), we then climbed back up Nut Batch. Halfway up a jet black rabbit ran across the fire road and sat on the bank looking at us…. I’ve never seen a wild black rabbit before…..

As we rode along side the glider club they launched one…. wow! I’ve seen them go up, but never from that close…. A short ride along the road and we were at the turn for Little Stretton, the ride to the lone tree at the start of the real fun bit was fast, and the main event was just as good, no walkers to avoid, just let her roll! Big smiles and the smell of hot brakes at the bottom 🙂 Just a quick road ride back to Church Stretton and we were done.

A great weekend of riding! Roll on Ivan’s Welsh extravaganza next weekend!

Ride – #46     Bike – Gary Fisher Paragon 29’er

Miles – 24.0     Total 2012 miles – 1004.1

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