Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Helvellyn 2

Lying on the grass next to the car in the foetal position concentrating on not losing your breakfast and willing you head to stop throbbing while your mates finish getting ready, possibly not the best preparation for a mountain bike ride. In fairness to me (and in an attempt to absolve myself of any responsibility) when I agreed to ride helvellyn me and the mrs had no baby sitters for saturday (our wedding anniversary) but at the last minute my mother in law stepped in so we stepped out. Just a couple of drinks with our meal and the comedy show ended up being quite a lot actually, bleurgh. Johnny drove me and grum upto glenridding while I closed my eyes and tried to sleep. It was a gorgeous day for it, sunny but not too hot, sun cream applied, pads attached to bike (dollywagon being the only none race route in the UK I've taken pads) and we set off, my hangover eased almost straight away, wahey! We spun slowly up the valley, my head still hurt but atleast my legs worked. Spinning uphill behind Johnny we were taking it easy, at one point when the incline kicked up he faltered so I overtook and kept going for 20seconds or so then I needed a sit down until the world stopped spinning, I instructed Johnny to fall across the trail next time he stopped to prevent any more idiocy on my part. At one point I got off and pushed while johnny kept riding ahead after about a minute he looked back to see I was still right behind him, kinda demoralising :-) Bit of a rest near Raise

Cloudy but warm near the top, nice view of the trail to come and just a tiny spot of snow still to be seen (middle of pick just below the ridgeline)

Going up lower man we were passed by lots of runners in both directions, a 15mile race up and down helvellyn, ouch! Finally got to the top and padded up. Obligatory pic at the top.

And off we went. Wide open stony tracks to start, some climbing and thrutchy traversing to follow, Grum fell behind, thought he'd punctured but no much worse, trashed rear mech. Fortunately he had a spare hangar, mech was pretty mangled but was usable and we finally got onto the scary as hell dollywaggon steps. It's been quite a few years since I've done this and I've gotten a fair bit better since but it's always disappointing to have it proved you're no trail god I battered down the first section ok, dodgy stone pitch bouncing you around all over the place but I was just about following the trail. Got to the big ditch @1:54 and had to step off, lined myself up for another big ditch, "if I go off that big rock there my front wheel should, *should* bump over the other side OK......probably" With all my weight over the front and some big ass rocks beckoning me to land on them after an OTB I bottled it. This kinda continued for a while, couple more refusals and the odd dab. Johnny binned it when he couldn't unclip stopping on a corner, as he said you're concentrating so much on staying upright over the bumps you're not watching or prepared for corners. On one corner I reaslised I was out of control and making the turn was not a dead cert but I let it ride and trusted that "the bike wants to stay upright" bobbins mag writers go on about in skills articles, got around anyway....this time. The gradient finally eased off as I coasted to Grisedale tarn which was looking nice as I sat and waited for the lads.

We had made it down dollywaggon exhilarated, scared, but intact, whoop! Grisedale was a lot more fun, mixture of big wide open choose yor own line fixed rock and narrow singletrack squeezing between big rocks. We were going well till I heard an "OOOF!" and a clatter from behind, turned to see Johnny lying face down. He'd gone OTB and landed with his chest against a step, ouch! Badly winded and a bit bruised but nothing too serious, we carried on, well actually I tempted fate by going back and doing that bit again as I'd dabbed on it initially. We got a bit of speed up going well, I got to the footbridge and got my camera out and waited to snap the lads coming down, and waited....and waited oh dear. Pushed back up the pitch section to find Johnny fixing a flat, probably not caused by a thorn ;-) We set off for the final stretch, still not out of trouble tho Grum and I both nearly lost our beck ends on a huge slick rock on a corner and I nearly went OTB not concentrating. Got back to the car and my hangover kicked back in again, awesome! Lovely day out, fun trails and a reet good laugh.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Burnt out

I could immediatley tell that my legs were still not quite right on my commute to work on tuesday, later going up a slight hill pulling on the bars the complaints from my back and shoulders told me I wouldn't be singlespeeding on the night ride. I concentrated on keeping my head down and spinning smoothly and efficiently and promptly rode straight passed my turning, dead efficient that!

Evening I set off, late as per usual, spun up barrow bridge, ouch, it was windy up top but surprisingly dry. Did two lads which is riding well, along georges lane and did ICR, woah when did this get all chewed up? Really rocky and loads of the lines changed. Waited for the lads at the top car park, saw Simon (whose blog is down at the mo) and said hi. Si and Johnnie arrived and we set off, upto the pike much banter once again centred on Johnnies bike, over to hole in the wall. Bit tired climbing that then headwind to the mast which was hard work. There was a fair amount of speeding up slowing down and messing about as we subtly and not so subtly tried to draft each other. The plan was san marino, back up then down shoulder. Pretty good condition, I was buzzing by the bottom, still a couple of iffy bits but we made it down quick and intact. Set off back up in 3rd gear spinning away, after about 20meters my legs tried to seize up and I had to hit first gear and calm down, span to the top ok but legs were pretty shot by then, now way was I doing ICR and having to climb back up the gardens and didn't fancy the cobbled road, then georges, then chorley old rd so I said my farewells and did san marino again :-)

Bit slower this time, should have rested halfway but I stubbornly continued and suffered for the last minute, my calves were locked solid as I hit the last couple of drops at the bottom, feel the buuuuuurn, ouchy. A real man would have finished by riding up scout road, down the quarry then back up to the road to do smithills but I was done in so I called the mrs to put tea in th'oven and I spun down belmont rd into town, one tired individual. Major refuel time. Woke up still knackered and the gentle walk up to the train station this morning was damned hard work, bit more rest needed I think.

ps kids and microwaves don't mix, you're supposed to add milk before you warm the weetabix, stupid boy!

Monday, 20 May 2013


Choices, this weekend I had the option of joining a load of STWers at helvellyn or Lowey and Wors doing whiteless/newlands, so obviously I went on my own to the peak district. Still not sure why, reasons include, cba driving to the lakes, peaks had best forecast, snowdon was my last proper ride so wanted something a bit more pedally, wanting to get some miles in, being an antisocial bugger. Take your pick, probably a combination of all of the above. Anyway parked up in Hayfield and set off, up mount famine, my pace was pretty quick but legs were coping, winter commuting paying off however the descent into roych clough battered my arms. Up out of the clough wasn't too bad and up the roamn road. On rushup edge the bridleway was a boggy mess so after about half a mile of that I jumped back over to the dry firm footpath, was deserted anyway. Dropped onto mam nick and headed over to dirtlowe rake at speed. Battered my way down there and pin dale, lost the chain which got all wrapped up, lost it a few times during the ride, new mech needs some minor adjustment I think.

Down the road to hope and up the roman road to hope cross. Hadn't decided on route yet, me and Burke did The Beast a few years back and were underwhelmed, think it was post resurfacing, decided to give it another go, it's getting more broken up now and was pretty good, wet and slippy was missing my ST tyres and had one almost off but a good run. Bugger of a climb to the road then along it to Rowlee bridge and up blackey hey clib back to hope cross. Was feeling the pace by now, legs starting to fade. Stopped for a snack and a breather.

Did jaggers clough then took the road back up to mam nick, didn't fancy either of the routes up to hollins, completely forgot about chapel gate, should have done that. Over rushup and got well and truly beaten up on the roman road, aching calves, shoulder and arms by the bottom. Drop to roych clough has a mahoosive shelf step now which is cutaway, has to be launched to avoid a face plant. Slogged my way up mount famine, met up with a geezer on a ghost at the turn off for coldwell clough. Followed him down to river kinder, I was going to go straight back to the car but as he was riding kinder thought I'd join him. On the cobbled climb knowing my legs were gone I let him go first, but he spun out so urged me on ahead. I didn't want to falter and potentially block his route so dug very deep to clean the climb, was bolloxed by the top of the cobbles, proper hyperventilating and light headed, needed a little lie down. Up onto middle moor didn't fancy the long road ride back from the bottom of the shooting hut descent and I hadn't done snake path before so I gave that a go. Bit disappointing TBH probably won't bother again, not technical and a lot of gates. 35miles 6000ft, jiggered today, shoulders and arms really aching, need to sort out my weedy upper body.


They've resurfaced the outwood section of NCN 6, pristine tarmac so i figured I've give it a go. I can use that to get upto the top loop of the irwell

Short push to get onto the bury bolton canal, few new faces around

Over the mechano bridge, with their mechano picnic tables.

The route is a little bit longer and a few gates, tricky to figure out if it's quicker/easier with the fast smooth surface, but it might be a consideration for future use.