A guy at work (roadie) told me a couple years ago about jumping from his bike in a dodgy moment, speed, loose corner and traffic were involved can't remember the exact details. I thought why the hell would you want to jump from your bike unless you'd already crashed? Now I kinda see his point.
Full turn out on friday, me, Burk, Si and Johnnie, weather was looking good, I'd planned to do a slightly shorter newlands route in the morning then something else later so we set off early. The climb up stoneycroft gill was ok to start, good and techy, not too steep. Then it got steeper, and rockier.
Johnnie seemed to be suffering from recent lack of riding and the excesses of the night before but we were all struggling to push up high moss. The climb to Sail summit is now switchbacked and slightly easier but still not doable by any of us on the day.
(you can see our route up way over to the left of the ridge)
Some hairy moments hiking over the scar but finally we were on Crag hill, 2700ft and a good 2000ft of down to come.
The first 400ft was a screamer, fast open with a few corners and drainage ditches to contend with, bit of a pedal then onto whiteless edge. Good stuff but altho I'd brought the big bike I'd frgotten to bring the corresponding cajones, a couple of dabs plus new shoes lead to having trouble getting clipped back in and riding on top the pedals instead of in them - sketchy. Some really nice bits along there. Whiteless pike was a fair bit more tech than I expected, a couple of bits I might have managed but I bottled it and a few bits I definitley didn't have the skill for. Some sketchy off piste moments too as I over cooked a corner or two.
Johnnies gnarr face
Halfway down I flatted, burk went on ahead Si and johnnie stopped with me. Just as I was ready to go again a family came passed telling us our mate had crashed but was ok. I set off, despite knowing a friend had already stacked I still went at it pretty hard, came over the crest of a hill and saw burk, about 5ft infront of me but 20ft down oops. Properly steep grass followed by insanely steep grass then rocks then back to properly steep. I braked hard but wasn't slowing down, back was trying to skid, much more pressure and the front would too, still way too fast, more front brake, oh dear. Just as front wheel started to go over the insanely steep bit I started to bin the bike. Fortunatley stabbing my foot down to the ground managed to stop me. Phew. Behind me Si and johnnie had similar trouble but made it safely. Burk had crested the hill, seen the slope, binned his bike on the grass but still slid along, his bike was headed for a drop at the side so had to grab it and try to slow himself down at the same time - with an appreciative audience :-) Cue lots of giggling at our lucky escapes. Don't do this downhill in the wet, it would be lethal! Still lots of steep grass down to go but we carried on a little more gingerly. Climb out of buttermere was ok to begin with but soon had us walking again. Johnnie was having difficulties walking, the fancy doohickey lacing systems on one of his boots had locked so he couldn't loosen it for walking, he was quite angry about this (did someone say hopping mad?) Si and burk had grim determination etched on their faces.
So far the lads weren't impressed, too much walking/carrying and too technical downs but now we had the newlands singletrack and I was quietly confident things would turn around. Sure enough 30 seconds in and I could hear whoops behind me. A 6" wide trail of loveliness, some bits opened out where it was steep and loose and then narrowed again, fast, twisty, turny and not a walker in sight superb. Grins all round at the bottom, my route choice vindicated. Trouble is it took us over 4 hours, everyone was knackered and I was on a time limit. No time for a second ride, certainly not skiddaw which was the original plan :-( Only 12 miles but 4500 ft of climbing in that, tough going. Postride refuel, vegan porkless pie or mansized proper version?
If you want pics of the downhill speak to lowey I can't be arsed stopping halfway to whip out the camera for shakey badly taken pics.