Big day out, Johnnies return to nan bield, said he wasn't nervous, me and burk certainly were when we loaded the bikes onto the bike rack and it rotated backwards alarmingly, before reaching the motorway the carrier had scraped the road a couple of times and the whole lot was swaying quite a lot, my bike was last on so first to hit the tarmac in any disaster, I had to stop myself looking back. Johnnie was confident it'd be fine and to be fair he was proved right, he also figured out the problem was a missing bolt (gulp!)
Parked at kentmere it was already roasting hot, nice easy climb up Stile end and then a trickier than I remember drop into longsleddale some off camber rutted rock slabs, cheeky.
Burk had a flat on the faster lower section so we sat in the sun while he fixed it, set off and 10 seconds later I heard "woaaaah" burk had flatted again and this time shredded his tyre, 10cm tear in the sidewall, oops. Bit of bodging got him on his way (back to the car)
Apparently this only lasted 20mins but he rewrapped it and it got him back to the car. Me and Johnnie carried on, the nice easy(ish) road up to gatesgarth has been trashed by rain/water, pretty unrideable even before it gets steep.
So we did a bit of pushing rode some of the cobbled section and I finally managed to clean a small section just before the plateau. We did the final steep push up to the top of gatesgarth but mindful of how long it had taken, what a ballache the NB climb is and Burk waiting at the car tugging on our conscience we decided to cut across harter fell to NB instead of dropping down to haweswater. More pushing, bit more riding and the views just got better and better as we climbed, fantastic day.
I was getting a little apprehensive as we approached NB but in the meantime the drop off harter fell had my concentration, proper technical. Reckon I rode about three quarters of it and after that NB was a walk in the park. Johnnie crashed here bigtime a few years back, bit of concussion, amnesia, collecting a facial scar and putting me right off my line with all the blood. As we rode down I was shouting "was it this corner?" and a few seconds later I'd hear johnnie behind me "nope",
"this one?" "no"
"this one?" "no"
"this one?" "yeah, oh ****!"
Yep he crashed again, fortunately he dismounted and landed safely, I went back up to talk him through it. Despite not worrying about it previously when he actually got to the corner of death he had gotten very nervous, this was a big thing after all. Tight switchback with a big rock on it to screw up your line, instead of trying to avoid the rock I suggested making it part of the line and using it to get round the corner and we managed to go from this
(dunno why it's out of focus)
Success! Good stuff, johnnie was well made up. We kept on going, Johnnie had a bit of an off on a very dodgy water bar, I had a crash on a bland none de-script bit of trail, lost concentration and my front wheel just dropped off the edge of the trail landing me on my face, damn. The drop down to hallow bank quarter is great, nice and technical with some steep steps, I really enjoyed it, happy that he'd conquered what he came to do Johnnie was happy to walk the dodgier sections but he could not believe how far it was from the foot of NB back to kentmere, when he did this post crash he thought it was switchbacks 5mins of trail then onto the road, forgetting about the 3miles or so of trail he had ridden, well blunt force trauma will do that to your memory. Got back to the car to find burk sunning himself, bit miffed at wasting a day, might pack a spare tyre next time :-) I managed to destroy another bashguard somewhere along the way too.
Only 11 miles but a really fun ride