It was my first real ride on the Salsa Mukluk today, one that I had semi-planned and even packed some lunch for! Well, I say planned, a quick look at the OS map before I set off for the train station and that was it really. I headed for Capenhurst station and took a one hour journey to Hoylake, the top end of the Wirral Peninsula. The was hot on the train and I was hoping for one of those unusual warm days in February. Once I left the station and turned into the wind, I soon realised that the westerly winds were bitter and more annoyingly, strong, very strong!
I never normally go to the beach (probably due to my dislike of sand!) but I enjoyed riding along. I soon realised that there is no escape from the wind, you’re totally exposed to the elements. Most of my mountain biking is done in forests and there are generally plenty of trees to shelter you from the wind, but on the beach with the winds whipping across the Irish sea, you have no hiding place. It was slow progress along the shore but also very quiet, an excellent place to distress oneself from everyday life. The tyres floated on top of the sand and made progress much easier than if I had been on my 29er.
I stopped for some lunch and watched a runner go by. In the technical sections of the beach, the runner breezed over the large pebbles and small boulders. She quickly disappeared into the distance and left me to contemplate how I was going to navigate through the lumpy section. First, I tried heading out to sea and ride on the softer sands but progress was slow, almost a stand-still. I should of dropped the pressure in the tyres to get more float but instead, I headed back to the cliff and decided to work my way through the boulders. The bike was amazing, in no time at all, I had cleared the section without a dab, the tyres rolled over and gripped the slimey rocks really well.
I had been out for over two hours battling the winds and was missing my coffee. A quick stop at ‘Nets café for a cappuccino and a scone (well, it would be rude not to!) and I was off again for the most painful part of my ride. A ten mile ride along the tarmac on my fat tyres. This is hard going, they roll better than you think but it is soul destroying. With 10PSI in the tyres, I was going to burn off that scone that was loaded with clotted cream and jam (did I forget t0 mention that bit?!) in no time at all. An hour later and I was safely back at home, brewing up a second coffee