Thursday, 26 July 2012

The ride that nearly wasn't

Getting a bit behind on my ride diary, waaaay back on the 16th weather was looking iffy, bbc and metcheck reckoned keswick would be fine till about 12, hmm, wasn't feeling great weather was putting me off lack of mojo etc etc. In the end I decided to set off hella early (5:30am) and try to get borrowdale bash done before the rain set in. Was miserable in bolton, not looking good, set off upto keswick and the rain cleared just as I hit cumbria, nice. Found my usual spot blocked by scouts who had appropriated the entire car park for the day, unsure if they can do that but CBA getting aggro so parked at ashness bridge instead. On the bike for 8am, up to the lookout, along watendlath beck and up the unrideable climb. Descent down Birketts leap was lovely as ever and while I wasn't nailing everything 100% perfect I got down it pretty well. Now decision time risk a big old add on or stick to the plan, sod it big hills here we come. Took the BW to stonethwaite then up the farmtrack up langstrath valley. Me and burk did the BW up Stake pass a while back and it was 'orrible, I had high hopes for this side of the beck. Started well not 100% rideable but better than the east side. Then I got to marsh at the bottom of stake and the track ended never to be seen again til I got to angle tarn. The push up angle tarn gill was tough going but eventually made it, only the stair case to go

Made my way up that and then "oh yeah just the other staircase to go"

Finally made it to the top, views were gorgeous, took a few pics, was going to post them but screw that, if you want to see them get your arse up to esk hause, you won't be dissapointed. Someone had beaten me to it, there was a tent up on the top, sounded like they were just getting up (at 11!) Had taken 2 hours to get up, seem to remember the stake route was over 3, not bad. Set in for the descent, it's a biggy. Some nice fast bits, some nadgery rocky sections, a short carry at the ford after sprinkle tarn then battered my way down to stockley bridge, suspension working overtime, rear shock sounded like a turkey gobbling up the hits and both shock and forks were pretty warm to the touch by the bottom. Brilliant managed to clear the slab near the bottom too good stuff 30minute descent all in. Rolled into seatoller hungry and thirsty I had only packed food and water for a short run. Pub supplied the good, massive flapjack, luxurious hot chocolate and a refilled camelbak - brilliant. Tired legs hit the climb out, didn't clean the rocky road but managed the super steep grassy bit to the top with much grunting and gurning. Trail along the top was nice and eventually lined up for the rocktastic drop into grange. I've had issues with this before and continued to do so. Made it about halfway down before the repeated pings from the front tyre bottoming out turned into hisses of escaping air. Whoops. Perforated the spare tube trying to lever the tyre back on, kids if a tyre won't go on by hand your not doing it right, change technique don't reach for the levers!. So I bunged in the DH spare I normally keep for tubeless malfunctions. Set off and was going well, was approaching a gate, old lady spotted me and held gate open for me, I yelled my thanks as I launched off a rocky step onto some rocks, an almighty pop! and bang bang bang of bare rim on rocks, oops.
That looks terminal, lesson number 2, use rim strips with flows if you use normal tyres. Old lady closed the gate walked passed me and said "that's because you were going too quick" thanks. Repaired a spare and got going again but I wasn't risking it and headed back to the car and that steep climb to ashness bridge, lovely way to end a ride!

Nice day out, the sunny weather had held on beyond the forecast, was trying to rain as I packed up at 1, just a bit of a rubbish end and it looks like my flows will never inflate tubeless again due to rock damage, oh dear. Looks like I'll be rebuilding it again - well I do need the practice.