Phew Jonnie hasn't been on abusing me yet. Tour of coniston, what a brilliant day! Weather was gorgeous, blue skies, nice and warm, gentle breeze. We parked up above coniston at the bottom of walna scar road. A rocky, slippy downhill threw us straight into the action, very wet but good fun. Through coniston and up through lawson park, everyone rode to the top, a good start. Parkamoor was fantastic as ever, dropping down to high nibthwaite on the fast rocky track, you had to pick your lines round the bigger rocks and drops/ditches. A quick stint up the road to Blawith and away across the moors. Sat having lunch it was gorgeous, chilling in the sun watching the buzzards. A bit of navigational trouble followed but we quickly got back on track. A new (to me) BW up to broughton woods was much nicer than the road route and I thought it was a good climb (others may disagree) Juicy singletrack goodness through the woods and a quick rest at the river belwo stephenson ground before "The Ascent" A looooong climb to the top of walna scar, upto natty bridge was a nice leisurely ride in the sun after that it got steeper and technical and our tired legs protested but everyone pushed on. As we got to white peak while we regrouped I lay down, the sun on my face, listening to the birds, thinking there really is no better way to spend a bank holiday like this. We had a break before the final climb, walna scar side. 20+ miles in we were all feeling the strain, we sat discussing the climb, a clear wide track with a not too steep gradient twisting away to the top, it looked doable but our legs were indicating otherwise. We set off, I was in bottom gear and dispite never changing every couple of minutes I was clicking my shifter looking for an easier gear that wasn't there. I was doing OK and just about managing when it got steeper, I slowly winched up that untill it leveled of to its constant steep gradient but I could see another coming. I tried to recover taking this relativley easier section as slow as possible. I got to the steep bit not confident a bit of wandering side to side but I kept on keeping on. Then it got steeper, then came the (steeper) switchbacks. All of my mental effort went into breathing as hard as I could and eventually I made it, cresting the top I fell to the side and remained motionless (apart from my heaving chest) and tried to keep my lunch down. I'm quite happy with that :-)
The descent was sublime, absolutley fantastic fast rocky downhill, some big loose rocks for drifty cornering and the odd section where it got all steep and techy. Bloody brilliant, downhill all the way to the cars where we had cake waiting. Best ride of the year so far, no doubt about it.