Ride 3 means day 3 of the 31, so not quite a tenth of the way through my self inflicted challenge and already I'm suffering the physical consequences. I'd arranged to meet my friend Carolyn at 5pm at Rivington Barn (cafe just outside village of Rivington). (Carolyn organises the women's rides of a local mountain bike club www.groovytribe.co.uk and so she had also arranged to meet Nicola, a new rider thinking about joining the club.) From my house to the barn is about 3 miles by road but I always nip up a grassy track I know to cut a corner off. This short cut has a gate that is my nemesis, it has one of those very strange revolving stile things next to the very locked standard 5 bar gate. To get through this I have to pop the bike up onto it's back wheel, then wedge the bike into the revolving bit, a weird balancing act that defies every law of science. I then have to climb the 5 bar bit swing the bike though towards me and begin the untangling process. Every time something goes a bit wrong and I lose a chunk of skin, today was particularly dodgy and I lost 2 bits of arm and scraped my ear on my front tyre. Made it the rest of the way to the barn without incident. Met up with the others and off we all set for what I knew would be a cracking ride all around the Rivington area. The rain mostly held off, not too many other people about, and felt really good to be out with other bikers. All well until about the ten mile point when on a bit of a breath catch and drink stop a sudden stingy itchy sensation on the back of the knee made me realise I was stopped above a patch of evil ants. Several minutes later and a bramble patch scraped another bit of arm. Nicola left us at about the 12 or 14 mile point but Carolyn and I felt we had another climb in our legs so off we went, now I'm home my legs are not thanking for me this decision. But through all this physical adversity I was grinning like every biker on a good ride does. I smiled as I made it to the top of the climbs and I giggled my way down the down bits. I made it home at about 9pm, gobbled down some stir-fry and glugged a beer. I ache and I'm scratched up, but nothing another beer and a bath won't sort out and I'll be more than ready to do it all again.