First STW ride in a while, Skipton this time, only 11 riders so sensible numbers, a 10am meet time meant a bit of a lie in. Weather was warm but overcast with rain threatening. We set off first climb was one of those gentle grassy ones that slowly gets steeper till near the top it's a proper steep. Quick break at the top then down, some twisty turny singletrack, more rocky singletrack then it got proper steep at the end, really nice, proper start to the day. A bit of road work and some little ginnels got us to the next climb. Again started gentle then got steeper and steeper and finally rocky at the top, got off line on the lose stuff near the top and had to trackstand to regain balance then a little further ahead Lowey slipped infront of me and I couldn't get round. Nevermind, really good climb and just about doable in the dry. Across the moor on some sandy single and double track, very north york moors esque. We got to a cheeky descent, 2 miles of grassy singletrack, a few rocks thrown in, a few ferns overhanging the trail and it just got steeper and faster. Lowey was a fair bit ahead of me at the start but I was slowly reeling him in and on the last section he went round a rock while I launched over it :-) We got to the gate giggling like idiots wondering where the hell everyone else had got to, then loweys fone rang, oops looks like we missed a turn but we both agreed, well worth the push back up. We cut across to Embsay crag, this is a well known downhill apparently and it was freaking awesome. Steep tech off camber rocky singletrack to start then it opened out to a super fast wide chute that seemed tailor made for bikes, off drops landing on the bermed sides to slingshot round corners and loads of rocks to launch off. Brilliant!
A rather nice pub stop followed and 1 rider left us and two others joined, we could quite easily have spent a couple of hours there but time was ticking by. Bit more road and a long grassy climb. At the top Burk was starting to hit the wall plus the late start and leisurely pace meant it was already 3pm and an estimated finish time of 6pm wouldn't go down too well with either Burk or my other halfs. We decided to split, one factor being that we could take in embsay descent again on the way back :-) nice one. The ride up Embsay moor was a slog with a persistent headwind but once again the downhill rocked. Embsay crag was done in one go, without unclipping and no walkers to slow us down. There's a vid of it here by someone going a lot slower than we did - probably :-)
Couple of road miles into skipton and back the car for 4. Good days riding, will be back (with an earlier start) cos there's some lovely riding there, thanks to Wharfedale for arranging.
Lowey has pics