Out in the lakes with Burk yesterday, weather was looking iffy so I had 3 routes planned STW ambleside, Loweys skiddaw cheek and borrowdale with styhead loop. I let Burk decide (thank god) he said number 3. Did the first bit or borrowdale, watenlath to Rosthwaite was as good as ever, unclimbable but a superb steep rocky descent. The next bit was new, looking at the map it should have been bimble along stonethwaite beck, ride up langstrath valley, hike up stakes pass then traverse along the top then fantastic downhill to seatoller and finish borrowdale. Nope. OS could do with a grading system. Stonethwaite was fun but energy sapping, langstrath was horrible, loads of unrideable stuff, just dead rocky and stuff. Stakes pass was as expected. Halfway round the "traverse" which was about as rideable as langstrath, we saw what was ahead, another monster climb, I'd somehow failed to note the plethora of contour lines. Feet were hurting I wasn't in the mood for all this, Burk was feeling the same, this downhill better be worth it. Finally got to angle tarn and could see a giant staircase before us. We were broken men, a quick break and some scrummy westmorland pie lifted my spirits, one more push and we're done, off we went, properly sore feet and knackered legs arms and back but we plodded on. Finally topped out and started riding again, came round a corner to see another staircase just as big. I wanted to cry. Thoughts of lynching the STWer who'd recommended this route were discussed, good job Burk helped choose the route or I'd be the one lynched. Another map check showed that this WAS the last climb, onward and upward.
Finally made it, helmets on, saddles down, suspension plush-i-fied and dooooooooown we went. Was feeling wooden at first hitting stuff to slow, not surprising after over 2hrs of walking. But I soon loosened up and it was very very good. The downiest downhill I've done I reckon, remided me of "6 inches only" but better, 1900ft and 3.7miles of down. Not as mentally steep and dangerous as top of dollywaggon, bit more tech than nan bield but less "fall to your death of the side of the hill" consequences. Really really good, battered your uppper body and a few goes down it and you'll have forearms like popeye, had to keep switching braking fingers on the long steep sections. I shall be going back soon with comfy shoes, the right mindset, pads and a different route up, Burk definitley won't, I'll invite Johnnie, shh just don't tell him about that climb :-)