My last spin on the MTB was in May when I managed to break my derailleur hanger! I did eventually get a replacement once lockdown was over but fitting it was fiddly and I couldn’t get the gearing dialled in. The bike needed a good service and cable change so I decided to leave it until I could get it to Halfords in Letterkenny. The 31 Days of Biking challenge took over and then the purchase of my new bike and the poor MTB remained hanging up in the garage in semi retirement.
I eventually got myself organised and left it in for a service a couple of weeks ago and got everything sorted and in good working order again ready for the inevitable change in weather that would put me off the road bike.
Today the weather wasn’t too bad but for some reason I couldn’t get motivated to ride the road bike. The weather was mild but grey and drizzly and the thought of 2-3 hours was dispiriting. Having decided to just go for an hour I decided to use the MTB instead to get a decent workout in the legs and make sure everything was good after the service.
As always leaving the house is the most challenging bit and while I was dropping down the hill from the house I quickly decided to extend the route to make my 25km spin into 30km. The novelty of the MTB though soon had me smiling and enjoying the ride so 30 quickly became 40 and then 45, eventually finishing up just over 46km.
Most of the spin was on roads, a mixture of back roads like above and slightly busier main roads but with it being a lockdown Sunday afternoon traffic was pretty light and no lorries which is the biggest bonus.
On the way out of Killygordon I decided to do a bit of exploring and dropped down off the road, under the bridge and along the weir access lane along the riverbank.
I’ve only ever been down this lane once or twice and not for a very long time. The river was full and fast after the recent spell of heavy rain and the weir was in full flow.
The lane ends at the weir but there were rough tracks going a bit further, likely created by local fishermen walking upriver and perfect for the MTB.
It’s the ability to randomly change route and head off track that I love about the MTB. Exploring off road brings out my inner 8 year old and reminds me of the fun I had as a kid with a bike growing up in a small village.
My mini riverside adventure gave me an interest in more. Going into Ballybofey I thought about Drumboe but figured it would be pretty busy on a mild Sunday afternoon so went on down the main road with a plan to visit Monellan instead.
Monellan was busy enough too but nothing too annoying for either me or the families out walking. I buzzed around the forest tracks and two of the rougher little paths. I decided to skip the section where I broke my hanger in May but did get to ride the path we discovered earlier this year for the first time.
Leaving Monellan I made my final route change and headed up the steep road climb to Gleneely School and round my normal walking/running route and back home. Having talked myself out of a 2-3hr road spin for an hour I ended up being out for 2hrs 15min and really enjoyed myself.
Yes tough at the top. I think during such short days it is good to go off-road cycling it takes much more balance, a lot more energy so you get a lot out of what would be a very short run on tarmac, keep up the good work, and always carry a spare tube.
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