STW massive strike again, I went up to Swaledale on sunday, I set off in plenty of time, up the M6 through sedburgh and along the road till I get to buttertubs upto thwaite. Driving down a nice twisty road with gorgeous scenery for a while, eventually I got to a T junction...hmmm I'm not supposed to hit a T junction, look at maop, bugger I'd gone the wrong way out of Sedburgh, I was now still 16miles away and either a 20+ mile trip back and round or take this wiggly B road. B road it is, I was caning it along cos I was now in danger of being quite late and it all got squiggly. The road was twisting and weaving, dipping and rising, all singletrack, just a bit wider than the car, I was bloody loving it, eat your heart out colin mcrae, my head hit the roof of the car a few times and the bike was proper sliding about in the back. Talk about an adrenaline rush, I was buzzing, singing along to the radio absolutley loving it. Got there not too late afterall, I was trembling slightly from the adrenaline comedown as we set off, 20 of us in all.
Fremington edge is a bugger of a climb, steep with a loose covering of gravel and os so long. Your on the edge just climbing the default gradient so when it steepened up at the techy bits you were killing yourself to get over them and then there was no let up afterwards to get your breath back. I collapsed to the ground hyperventilating twice, hardcore climbing, the lack of a warm up probably doesn't help either. I may go back and try to clean it when you can get a third lung fitted in the NHS. There was a fast big ring downhill, more climbing then the swoopy fast descent to Storthwaite Hall was class. The big climb from Fore Gill gate was fun, just the right sort of smooth gradual climb where you can get into a rythmn and eat up the miles and vertical meters, I pushed it pretty hard and with the beasting of the first climb I was in danger of blowing up so I chilled a bit for the rest of the ride. Some great downhills, that short springy dales grass, it's like riding on thick green carpet, the final storthwaite section was a deep channel winding its way down the hill, all grass and all bermed, ace! On the "back breaker" (i think) I followed deejay, normally a risky move for me following a local, as I tend to go quite a lot quicker than usual, ignoring the fact that I dont know whats coming up but I survived and there were big smiles all round at the bottom. TBH I'm having real troubl;e remembering where we went and the order of climbs/downs but it was a good ride and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, I only found out yesterday Tom crashed properly banging himself up, dunno where that happened presumably near the end, broken ribs ouch! Another great STW ride roll on the next one.
Pics here and here and here