Monday, 15 July 2013


After a bit of pushing on the 3 passes ride Si said he wanted a pedally ride next, hmm write off the 3 rides I had in mind then, hmmmmmm. So I looked around and found some info about borrowdale add ons and planned a route. So instead of taking us onto trails that I knew would have us off and walking I took us on some trails I had no idea about (but admittedly given the nature of the geography around keswick may involve pushing). Parked up by the sports centre and headed through the town and up springs wood. Absolutely gorgeous, warm and sunny, light dappled rooty trails, perfect start to the day...if a little hard work in places. Up to castlerigg farm then up onto the fell and off and pushing already, oops. Super steep grass, 30mins in and we'd already got a huge sweat on. Onto the top and a ride along and a nice bit of gentle downhill to start and get warmed up skills wise. Pause on falcon crag and a look across to cat gill that will need further investigation at some point.

The rest of the drop to ashness bridge was fun, lots of line choices so you could make it more or less technical as you wished. Climbed up passed the view point, skipped the technical trail and went straight down the tarmac to watendlath, I got further up the climb than recent efforts but still miles from the top, more pushing. Birketts leap was good but I missed some of my usual lines, really good fun tho. Did the rosthwaite descent instead of through the woods, some stonepitching here and unfortunately Si flatted, nice place to stop tho.

Some cheek towards the stonethwaite was a bit rubbish and puncture inducing, will give it a miss next time, across to the road up to seatoller and then the start of the long, long grind up honister pass. Si was not impressed, I pointed out atleast it was pedal-able :-) Got to hause gill feeling pretty weary but looking up realised there would be a lot more climbing to come. Got to the cafe and saw the dirt road zig zagging up to the top. We also saw a bus setting off up the road, "well if a bus can make it up there we can certainly ride it" and then saw the bus turn off before the road got steep "oh, maybe not then". I had a go but didn't make it to the first zig. Off and pushing again, sorry Si. Made it up to the quarry where it looked like someone was building dirt jumps out of the slag. Bit of slippage too

Took a while to spot the BW (and even then we got it wrong) we sat down for a bite to eat before starting off. A couple of walkers came up the very sanitised looking track, I asked them about the trail, did it get trickier further up. "yeah it turns into a mine track" said the bloke, "it's pretty easy" said the lady. Easy eh? Hmm. We set off and 2 things became apparent, 1 this was going to be noisy as my rear brake started to emit a high pitched shriek everytime I applied it, proper fingers down blackboard style) and 2 this wasn't the BW. Fortunatley the track and the BW both hit dubbs quarry so we got onto the mine track soon after that. Now we're talking, getting a bit technical pinging down stuff, woohoo. Riding blind I was just following prospective lines ended up right of the main track then switchbacked onto it had to do some endo action to get heading down the trail again, cool. It was only as I got to the bottom to look up I realised it was a proper tech bit

Better pic here. Cool. Carried on down passed a few groups of walkers apologising for my brakes ruining the peace and quiet of the countryside. The route got progressively more and more tech, some big loose rocks, gnarly fixed rock, drifty gravel all combining to try to stop you. Fortunately I was having a very good day, riding out of my skin, great fun. Si behind was doing a fair bit of pushing, chatting to the walkers, I was wondering if he was telling them what a git I was, dragging him around these trails. A nice viewpoint down to buttermere above some tasty switchbacks.

The next section was even more technical it was mostly rubble, a very exposed section next to a tree, looked easy enough but penalty for failure was high and I wasn't pushing my luck, another time with 2 spotters (one to catch me, one to catch the first spotter) I'll give it a go. I was bouncing all over the shop trying to stay upright and moving, got to some mini switchbacks, just fixed rock you had to zig zag around too tight to ride, had to endo around, pulling off trials moves thinking I was martyn ashton, pumped up on adrenaline, absolutely loving it, I was giggling my tits off like I was stoned. Stopped for a rest and couldn't stop laughing for a couple minutes, brilliant. The trail eased off after that and we coasted down to gatesgarth ready to do battle with honister again. With tired legs we set off up the road, nice gentle undulating to start, honister hause hidden by fleetwith but as we got closer the full extent of the climb came into view. Si stated he'd be off and pushing soon, I tried to encourage him with that PMA bull. As we started the climb proper we both dug in, spin spin spin. About halfway I was giving simon the full "you can do it" treatment, imagine you're chris froome riding up galibier, keep at it, do it do it do it, keep at it, there's an ice cold coke waiting for you at the top. More spinning, more suffering, more sweating and oh yeah more gurgling sounds as we tried to squeeze more drops of water from empty camelbaks. As it got steeper near the top and we were still going I said "**** chris froome none of those so called climbs over there are this steep" Si kept going in silence, no idea whether the encouragement my inane wittering was helping or that he just didn't have the breath to tell me to stfu. As we got near the summit I could see a couple of faces peeking over the cafe wall watching us, I shouted up "come on then, give us some encouragement" which got a half hearted "go on!" so I made do with shouting "allez allez allez" myself - hey I was still buzzing from the downs. Finally we hit the top, massive effort well done Si, unfortunately I must have spent my camelbak emergency cash on a kebab after mr sparkles piss up ride so Si had to fund the congratulatory drinks himself. Oops. well earned rest then we set off down towards castle crag. Some nice undulating trails til we got to puncture alley. Told Si I don;t care what PSI you are currently running add more, so with rock hard tyres we set off, pinballing down the rocks and stone pitch. Miraculously we made it down flat free, first time ever iirc, I had a lie down in the river derwent at the bottom to cool down then we pushed on. Si was distinctly unimpressed with the climb up to fellside but it was soon over then an updulating trail til we hit Hawes end, didn't fancy the rolling road and it was getting late so took the by now quiet allerdale ramble back to keswick, rolled up to the car after over 7hours in the saddle. Fantastic day out and has got to be a contender for ride of the year, tho other opinions are available, I doubt Si will be back to fleetwith anytime soon. 27 miles and a bunch of climbing.

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