Having had the pants news of delaying the trip a few months due to the potential of an op, my knee being a complete bugger, lack of sleep and an insane amount of work I was feeling a wee bit crushed. We therefore figured with our off road training skills we had gained the week prior, it would be a mega idea to try out our new skills with some light green laning as a cheer me up! Searching about on the local maps we discover a mile long byway not too far off our favourite picnic spot. With the sunshining after a rainy night we kit up and hop on the bikes excited…
All was beautiful and sunny until about 5 mins from the lane when it started to bucket down. “Meh, it’ll pass” we figured… and although it calmed as we approached it was still drizzling. There was evidence it had been raining most of the day in Blagdon too as we sploshed through mini road rivers and passed half drowned, muddy huddled groups of long faced Duke of Edinburgh’s students. This didn’t deter us though, I mean common, what’s a bit of rain!?…
We arrive and can see a steady incline sweeping round the corner with a couple of shallow ruts either side and some loose rock and mud… easy! With Sam in front we start making our way along the path… and up… and up… and then round a corner where the small ruts suddenly dip into mini trenches with flowing rain and mud pouring over large smooth rocks and a slidey muddy mound in the centre. The slight incline sneaked away and before we knew it we faced a steep slope of doom. Behind, I watched in horror Sam’s back end flying out left, right and centre as he struggled up and up. With the original tyres on we discovered quickly they were really not appropriate and were giving us both a heck of an ice rink style fight. For some foolish reason it never crossed our minds to let them down a bit. Hindsight eh?!
Hesitant and nervous I try to follow up behind the never ending hill and after a couple of falls, I struggle back up and am starting to doubt myself and am feeling super gutted. I try again, wheel spin out of a rut then 100 yards later the front end washes out and the bike slams down heavy on my leg. At this point, Sam had managed to ride up around a corner with the momentum so was out of site. Slipping up trying to get the bike up I end up getting upset and feel useless. Sam stumbles and slides down to me and a bit broken I am grumpy. We pull the bike up and have to bend the back brake back round. I try again but fail.
Now, when you’re half way up a steep, slidy, muddy incline of doom the best choice you have is to continue up… down would have been a death trap! Sam asks what I would prefer to do and all upset I say I have no choice. Spotting how washed I was feeling (mentally I was pooped that day as it was) he suggests he rides Hobbes up. Gutted I let him jump on and on the way up I help tug Hobbes out of wheel spin ruts.
Eventually we reach a point where it smooths out and I manage to hop back on. Sam cheers me up by letting me know he managed to drop his bike too and that the hill was incredibly difficult… he was proud and impressed with what I did achieve.
We get to the end of the lane and choose to head to a local pub to reflect and chill. Starving but with it past kitchen hours we chill out at the bar, nomming crisps, head to toe in mud!
So yes. I felt pretty naff at the beginning of the day and really mentally I didn’t feel I was “there” to take on something so tough. It really wasn’t like me to get as frustrated and upset as I did which I’m guessing was all the strain of everything else coming through… normally I just laugh and let it wash over me! Sam has reminded me again and again I did supremely well considering but in the back of my head I do feel a bit defeated by the Hill of Doom.
I can laugh now looking back even though I really did struggle. I think part of my upset was because I thought “jeez if I can’t handle this what will I be like on the trip?”. Thing is… practice makes perfect. I had a hard day and what I did was impressive! I will be back in the future once we have the tyres sorted and I have managed to put a bit more practice in. I will not be defeated! Oh no! Mister Hill of Doom, I will manage you and your muddy rocky ruts of goo! Oh yes! Watch this space people… ;)
Big thank you to Sam for helping me so much that day and the week before and after when things just seemed to be falling apart a bit! He picked me up and glued me back together and I am now running about happy as Larry once again! HUZZAH!Share this