Finally booked myself a day off work just to go riding and whaddya know, the good weather was due to break, grrrr. Rain due at 12 in the lakes so I was up at 5:30, out at 6 and on the trails for 7:45, go go go. Nan bield was the primary goal, parked up on the road a bit away from kentmere meaning to get a nice warm up before the lung buster up Stile end, on the way I spotted a BW sign through HP plantation, aha a shortcut, but my cuts short or long always go wrong, proper drag up onto staveley head fell and the route over green quarter still had boggy bits despite the recent weather, grr ah well the downhill will be worth it...nope! Bloody sheep running along the trails in the middle of it messed that up then the bottom section was full of sheep as the farmer was herding them, so I waited and pottered down behind them. grrr.
I wasn't feeling it on the way up sadgill, no burning desire to dash myself against the hillside in a futile attempt to clean it, couple of breaks even before I got to the cobbles and the ground was already being spotted with water as it tried to rain - you're early! Pushing up the switchbacks of gatesgarth the rain built to not-quite-drizzle and the wind picked up, I went from sweat pouring out of me to quite chilly within a couple of minutes so I stopped and layered up. Had planned on doing ill bell but with the weather closing in I figured I'd stay as low as I could and atleast I could do 1 descent in the dry(ish). Dropped down to mardale head, it was alright but I wasn't really feeling it, dunno why. The soul destroying climb up NB was harder but shorter than I remembered but as the drizzle had kicked in properly I knew the descent wouldn't be pretty. Hunkered down at the top I got my phone out, H&S isn't normally a strong point of mine, no-one knew where I was, same old same old, however this time I txt my mrs told her I was doing NB to kentmere and to call me in an hour to check on me, I'd already got The Fear, oh dear. Managed the switchbacks with only a couple of minimal dabs, going too slow, but I refused the big steppy bit at the bottom, ridden this a few times but didn't fancy it today, wimp. The descent down Hallow Quarter went better, I perked right up and adopted my usual blast through it style, fun times :-)
I had thought of doing garburn pass aswell but my feet were wet and cold, stupid summer shoes, rest of me was damp but ok but if the rain kept up I'd be in trouble and I had other plans so back to the car and paid my first ever visit to Wilf's, part of mtb history so figured i'd better give it a go and as it was just after 11 I'd sneaked in before the breakfast cut off, mmm.
Slightly disappointed at the lack of beans or fried bread but quality bacon and sausages and enough tea and milk for a few cups (and I drown my tea in milk). Back home for 1 and an afternoon with the kids, while the mrs went shopping, lovely. Legs were a bit tired but after last weeks awful intro to night riding for Ryan I figured we better do a good job this time so arranged a tour de rivi. Met Si and Ryan up at Moss bank, barrow bridge climb which everybody loves as a starter, up onto winter hill and did 2 lads where ryan managed to go off course (chris did the same last year aswell, I thought it was an obvious trail) Met Johnny on georges and did wildeswood, johnny taking it gingerly with his ribs, good run down just a couple of grumpy arse dog walkers, (slowed down, wished them a good evening, they just scowled) Down the backs and up school climb where Johnnie and Ryan comparing fight club notes (they both do MMA). J split before ICR we plowed down proper rocky, lines have really changed again, massive rock below a drop off I've been riding lately, just missed it. Don't think Ryan was too impressed and not just due to the flat tyre he got, an acquired taste maybe. UP the gardens to the pike, the route down the drops was the driest I've seen in yonks, oodles of grip, the ruts could be ridden at top speed and we flew down, whoooooosh! Ryans legs were felling it on hole in the wall (mine weren't great) but he kept going, kudos. San marino next and we all got to the bottom grinning like loons, excellent run down, no dramas just lots of speed. my legs were shot by the time we hit the quarries, all jittery and I was all over the place line-wise. Quick climb back up to scout rd and down through smithills in the dying light, bit tricky to see the terrain in the flat light and really dark under the trees eek! Made it down unscathed, cracking ride, quintessential summer night ride, despite clouding over a couple of times it was warm, gorgeous views, dusty trails, a good laugh, fantastic stuff.
40 miles and 7000ft combined, woke this morning aching everywhere from the neck down, brilliant day off.