A nice man called Tony invited a few of us over to sample his local trails, I couldn't be arsed getting my nice bike down from the attic so decided to make do with the mmmbop, since Tuesday tho the bottom bracket had locked solid, oops. So Saturday night I stripped the BB, packed it with grease and forced the inner race around till it was smooth-ish and I was ready, pity the weather wasn't. Si had already arranged to pick me up otherwise I may well have bailed, this was my first big group ride in duff weather and I was worried, riding in the rain is bad enough but with faff and chinwag stops aswell...?
Anyway we pulled into Clapham to see a car park bereft of mtbers, hmm, sat in the car and listened to the rain for a while until Graham turned up on his bike, the rest were round at Tony's. We went round to find a clutch of santa cruz bikes, pity I hadn't brought mine. 8 of us setoff, steep climb out through some tunnels and onto dry stone wall edged double track, like the Stavely stuff from the last lakes ride, wet, lots of puddles but not a lot of mud. We were going at a decent rate, I was having an off day, wheezing my way round so found it OK but not really doing it for me. We got to giggleswick scar and I recognised where I was from the settle ride a couple of years ago, sure enough we climbed and dropped to feizor. Could see loads of swollen waterfalls on the nearby hills. More drystone wall lined trails, singletrack this time, through Warfe, over a river then a huge slippery off camber rock, my back wheel tried braking free a few times but I managed to catch it, just as I got to the end I heard a crash and said "yep, I didn't think we'd all make it across" It was nick (the only other hardtail rider) no damage tho so we went on. Tony's (the other one) freehub exploded so he gibbed out and the rest of us faced "an unholy grind" up onto the base of inglebrough. Wasn't as bad as advertised, tho the bits of limestone poking through the grass were slippy as hell, very confidence inspiring for the limestone pavement that followed. Slightly downhill but muddy and lots of rocks meant it was technical and hard work but I actually managed OK, not quite as well as Dave who, I learned later, was a trials rider, no wonder I couldn't keep up on all the slow speed thrutchy stuff. After that was the highlight of the ride for me, 2 miles of drystone walled singletrack, fast, wet, muddy and slippery but loads of fun, tyres slithering about all over the shop but somehow staying upright, finally I had a big grin on my face! After that we went back the way we had come, down through the tunnels, a very fast blast to finish, pretty scary tearing into the tunnels and suddenly realising you can't see diddly, you're doing 30mph and you're braking with backing plates. Eek! Back to Tony's for tea and lots of cake, Si had brought millionaire shortbread, ultra sugar rush! Thanks to Tony for supplying a cracking route considering the conditions,
and the tea
and a hosepipe for the bikes (and us)
and a nice warm fire.