Thursday 9th

Thu 9th Jan 2014

M_d, m_d, m_d

Fill in the blanks.






Paul D


Ian M





John R

Colin D


Ian A


If you entered "a" in the blank spaces, congratulations, you got it spot on. If you entered "u" that's not a bad effort and you came second.

Before the sound reasoning of the Finish Jury, I have to welcome our most recent recruit, Olly, from somewhere south of Real England on his first ride out with us. Then it's another fond return from Neil's brother Louis. (bet you start singing at this point). Louis injured himself recently and has missed a few outings. One more returnee tonight in the form of Simon who hibernated when the thermometer dipped a few months ago and has managed to persuade himself to kick the cat and get out again. And true to his word last Thursday, Lee turned up again determined to stay the right side of 20 stones via regular MAC outings, while Paul hauled himself over from his Blyth home to ASDA for a rare trip out on this one and must have clocked up a good few miles more than the rest of us.

Target tonight was again chosen by Terry to match the conditions, so off we sped towards Plessey Woods, about seventeen of us. Colin led out the back of the now derelict Holystone, a sign of the times after thousands of years doling (probably the right word) out alcohol poisoning to the locals. And that's when the Ride Leader knew he'd got the plan wrong, with that double field crossing a sticky, gooey, claggy nightmare for less-than-fit leg muscles. The lead group's batteries were almost flat by the time he reached the gate to join them, but after re-composing himself he led the way into the singletrack for Hillheads hotly pursued by Justin. The pair continued in front but swapped places down to the crossroads where Ian A took over for the run across to Dudley over a much firmer field from Burradon edge.

All but half a dozen were brave enough to rise up Weetslade Hill to descend rapidly and emerge ahead of the lazy few, then we toured along the waggonway to Seaton Burn Crossing. A bit of a parlay between Terry and Justin had the latter leading into the trees in search of the high trail we rarely use but we still missed our intended start. It's much easier to find coming from the north but tonight we were going to Plessey the "wrong" way, doing the loop clockwise for a change. That should have made the simple tour down to Stannington Vale an easy chore but even that hurt some folk quite a bit, and didn't feel very "down" until the kennels were in sight.

The main party had already entered the trees when the last man crossed the A1 but had sensibly waited just inside the woods, and that's where disaster struck Simon with his first ever puncture. All hands to the pumps and although once again it was a beautiful evening out of the breeze we didn't hang around to enjoy it for long with our bait stop just a mile or two away. Getting there was very entertaining with several near misses reported where the slimy mud teased the wheels very close to the trail edge and the swollen river waiting nearby for unwary victims.

A New Day, a New Cake!

Snack stop by the river, and time for Lucy once again to display her gorgeous wares. Whoa there, I should explain! I can't remember all of the ingredients of this particular production, but parsnip was one and sugar another. The result - another culinary masterpiece, patiently queued for and impatiently gorged on by an appreciative horde.

Time to go with Alun heading up and choosing the slightly lumpier route along the edge of the riverbank, much cleaner at this eastern end but a lot more rooty and still with that ever present danger of a submarinated diversion. Couldn't keep pace with him but it was fun trying for a while until Paul pushed me aside!

Dan reached the ford first and sat there looking at it before testing the depth of the rapids and deciding it was too deep to cross. That didn't stop Louis the Jester from going for it with, I think, Paul in tow. Seeing them reach the far shore successfully, Terry followed suit only to find that unwanted rock in the middle and have to dismount and wade out the other side. The tide mark on his cowboy boots showed it wasn't very deep after all, but there was enough H2O in there to dampen your stocking tops.

Paul stopped on the road outside to tell us he was off home via Bedlington's bushes while Terry led a few folk up the fairly quiet road, knowing full well he didn't have the physical gubbins to take the muddy field route, and most of those who did probably wished they hadn't. That encouraged us all to stick to tarmac to get back up the Crammy Garden Centre where Ian and terry became detached from the others and didn't rejoin until they'd met and then departed from Colin at Barns Park and made their way to the far end of Annitsford.

It was tarmac again up to Burradon before we hit the waggonway through Killingworth all the way to the Lakeside end then dropping Ian at Stephenson's Cottage as usual. As the bunch departed they created a very long tail along the Great Lime Road, with Simon and Terry at the back. Just before the Clousden Hill traffic lights Terry warned Simon that his rear light wasn't visible, so he stopped to put that right. Then amazingly, just a few hundred metres further on, beyond the Club, one of those nippy little white cars zoomed out from the new estate and almost took the pair of them out, stopping inches from Terry's left foot! And was the driver in the least apologetic? Not likely, merely suggesting we invest in some brighter jackets.

Now that may have been fair comment in another situation, but let's just say there were two riderless mountain bikes parked at the top of his street and he did the same again. He would have simply plowed into them, riders or no riders, jackets or no jackets. How can you NOT detect such an obstruction right between your very bright headlights? That's an extremely close call just a few weeks after Ian and Terry were mown down by another little white car in Shiremoor, and confirms my belief that we MTBers are put on this earth as cannon fodder for gormless, skill-free drivers to exercise their road-tax endowed persecution privilege on.

Anyway, ASDA and the Cave were reached around 10:20pm and you can get the stats from the Strava traces on the Forum, with John's shown below for convenience.



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Next Sunday Ride (plus other odd days) - See our Facebook page.

Next Night Ride: Thursday as usual.

Thursday nighters are 10-25 milers, 7:00pm start at ASDA East car park, Benton, 3-3.5 hours and generally OK for fit new riders but you need decent lights you can see with, NOT CANDLES. You MUST wear a cycle helmet.

Sundays are generally much longer, 8:00am to 10:00am starts from ride venue ending around teatime, and much harder rides.

Other ad-hoc rides are always being organised, see our Facebook page. Gloves, waterproof coat, snack and drink recommended. Carry basic tools.







The bigger the group, the louder the laughs!


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