The sun finally came out to play again today, so with Tom’s parents visiting we decided to make the most of it and head out to the Dales for a day in the countryside. It’s the final weekend of the Kettlewell Scarecrow Festival so clearly any kind of outdoor adventure needed to revolve around that!
If there’s one thing guaranteed to get us out of bed on a weekend it’s the promise of a good café. So when we found ourselves with a rare free weekend we decided to make the most of it and rose early on Saturday to take the mountain bikes for a spin to the Croissant D’or, a café that Kirsty has had her eye on for months. I was sporting a brand new pair of wheels courtesy of Trek after my front wheel exploded in the Peak District a few weeks ago so was keen to give them a spin and after the tough slog up and over the Chevin we pointed ourselves downhill towards Rawdon and our much anticipated breakfast.
Monday evening I joined fellow Otley AC runner and all round nice guy Tom on one of his marathon training routes running home from Leeds city centre back to Otley. While it’s not your every day commute it’s a great way to see a different part of Yorkshire and a good way to fit a longer run into the week.
Kirsty’s parents joined us in Yorkshire for the weekend so we drove up the Wharfedale valley to Grassington for a walk along the Dales Way. We picked up the river at Linton falls and wandered westward towards the stepping stones and on to the suspension bridge near Burnsall Lane.
The weekend before last we woke early on Sunday and made the quick trip down the M1 to meet Richard in Ladybower for a taste of peak mountain biking. After a drizzly start the weather began to clear and we escaped the midges in the car park to make our way along the reservoir towards the first ascent. We all tried hard but to say we cycled the whole way uphill wouldn’t be the entire truth!
This was a weekend of contrasting evenings. After celebrating our anniversary on Friday evening with some fine dining in Ilkley we ventured out on Saturday evening for a Yorkshire micro adventure. With poor weather forecast we decided to bring along the tent rather than bivvy bags and we trekked up from Burley-in-Wharfedale station as the light began to fade in search of a suitable spot for the evening.
One of the big factors influencing our move last year was the proximity of adventure – the great outdoors literally on our doorstep. We’ve been pretty good at exploring running routes and ticking off some of the local walking hot spots, but aside from our big day out in the Dales in spring, our mountain bikes haven’t really seen much action this year.
Feeling the Sunday night blues setting in and still a little sore after my marathon, I decided that I’d get on my bike and follow Tom on his training run up and into our local forest park.
There are many reasons to run an ultra marathon – to challenge yourself physically and mentally, to provide a goal to train towards, to see a beautiful area of the country or just so you can call yourself an ultra marathoner. Unfortunately for me the reason was less romantic and far less well thought through. It seemed like a good idea at the time.