Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Howgills soggy bottom

Friday dawned nice and sunny couldn't decide where to ride, a man from Kew Gardens was on the news on thursday saying plants are all confused by the weather and the soil is technically in drought conditions. Drought conditions sounded good so headed for bowderdale. Now this starts with a right kicker, 800ft in the first mile and finally tops out 1800 after 3 miles. Took me 90mins, missed the first switchback then later spun out on a chute where rocks peaked through the grass, shoulda taken the right hand line. All this low down grunting and pulling back on the bars wrecked my triceps pretty quick and took some serious toll on my legs but finally got to the calf and began the (4+ mile!) descent. Looks like the big rains tore this up pretty bad, been repaired since but a few dodgy gullies to avoid. First couple of miles were cool, just the odd bit of water then it got worse, drought conditions my arse, proper wet. Mostly just water and light mud but a few boggy sections. Bowderdale to ravenstonedale was a pain in the arse, I'm sure farmers have got it in for walkers and riders. Every gate was either knackered and a right bugger to open or had 2 or 3 latches, also one narrow section was almost unrideable due to being churned up by cows, I wasn't happy. Climb out of ravenstonedale was a drag and I was starting to worry about bonking, crested the top to see the sun reflected off the trail to murthwaite, great more puddles! Wasn't bad after the first few meters tho. Got a bit lost on the murthwaite parks descent. Trail I was on petered out, no sign of another, a cracking little downhill but I couldn' find it, my navigation PDA crashed I had a mini strop, eventually found it and loved it. Front wheel went on backside beck so walked that, Cautley beck climb nearly finished me off but the singletrack along cautley was ace. Dropped onto the road and coasted into Sedburgh for a refuel at the village bakery. So some ups and downs, me and the bike looked like I'd just done a winter ride but I had tan lines on my arms. It's not just the plants that are confused.

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