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.