18-24 Apr 2021
Arriving in Derby filled me with mixed emotions. Excited and a bit nervous. We’re here for the same reason most people come: for the mountain biking trails. Never having been to a MTB park before, we may as well start with one of the best in the country! I was curious to see what it would be like.
The house, called Roxanne’s (after one of the double diamond trails) is a renovated farm shack, with a quirky blend of new and old. Glass bottles built into the brick façade glow with the daylight, a wagon-wheel window provides a view into the bike room. It’s brilliantly set up for travelling with bikes, complete with tools and a wash station outside.
Taking advantage of the bike tools, my mechanic got busy servicing our bikes, and taught me how to degrease and lube the drive chain.
“We have to learn how to service them ourselves. We shouldn’t need to take them into the shop anytime there is a strange sound.” He’s right, of course.
One our fist day in Derby, we were keen to get out and explore the trails, so we jumped on the bikes and rolled down to the trailhead. A sign suggested a green trail to start.
I went first, and missed a turn-off and got us completely lost. We ended up following a fire trail out of the maze and rode around the lake instead. It’s difficult to concentrate on riding and navigation at the same time! I’m disappointed we didn’t get to ride a trail in the park after all that. But we made up for it by riding the Valley Ponds Cross-country trail near by instead (previous post).
On the way home we slowed down to explore the old buildings of Derby, particularly a cute original little farm shack that’s ripe for renovation.
When we weren’t riding, we were painting. Or doing both! One day, we rode back down to the lake with our plein air gear. After riding three quarters around the lake we came across a lake side picnic table. The perfect spot to set up. With the bikes propped up against a tree we spent an hour or so sketching the view.
I experimented with exaggerating the hills, to capture how they felt, rather than how they looked.
Overcast days are good for photographing artwork, so I used the day to shoot my travel sketchbook and created a new page on the blog. It’s interesting to see them all together.
I feel a little self-conscious posting my sketchbook. But then I remembered, the reason I’m keeping this blog is primarily so that we’ll remember our adventures. The sketchbook is part of that, and I’m really enjoying sketching with watercolour again. It’s been years. Also, if anything happened to it, I’ll have a record, if not the originals. Back in 1995, I had to keep a visual diary for uni. I submitted it for the end of year assessment, and it was stolen. All that work. I was absolutely devastated. At least it was stollen after it was assessed.
It seems that every farmhouse, has a mouse loose about the house. A little mouse popped out each evening as we were preparing for bed. He’d rummage around in the ceiling and then pop out in the kitchen. He’s kinda cute, but we kept a clean kitchen in the hope he’d loose interest. One night we heard him chewing his way into a cardboard box of wine bottles. Cheeky Mr Mouse.
“What if he’s travelling with us?” Chuckled Dave.
Mr Mouse: “This is so much fun! Where are we going next?”