Friday, 30 August 2013

Not again!

Did a rivi ride with the rollers last week learned some new trails and relearned some old ones. Showed them to Ryan and Simon another good ride, nice evening again. Went up the road from barrow bridge for a change, up the dirt road at colliers row and to the mast via the shooting hut trail. Not a bad climb, seemed longer but I think it's just more gradual whereas the usual is a few steep ups with short flat/down sections in between. New stuff was appreciated apart from the boggy bits on winterhill. Rode some cheek through the gardens, got eaten alive by midges while Ryan strapped on his brand new lights which looked good for the ten minutes they were running (no they don't come fully charged Ryan) We were just getting back up to georges lane and night had fallen properly (so long light free nightrides), we decided to ride the wall same as we did last week. Got to the end where there's a couple of steep steps down, my light showed that it looked a bit muddy, no problem off we go ooof, front wheel just sank in and the bike stopped dead, I went OTB head hitting the dirt and tumbled sideways onto the cobbles of georges where I found that those convenient wingnut hip pockets for your tools are really uncomfy for landing on. Si and Ryan came round the bend to find me lying in the road. They thought I was messing about, that I'd dumped my bike and lay in the road for a laugh. Nope, I've crashed, again! Similar to my nasty crash on wildes a couple years ago I'd expected the trail I'd ridden the week before to be much the same and in the dark I hadn't spotted the changes. 4x4s have been using the big slope at the end of the wall for messing about on, council seems so disagree and have dug a massive ditch at the bottom of it - and dumped a load of soft soil at the end of the steps, not good for riding and as Si found out pretty tricky for walking too. Grrr.

Got to wildeswood and discussed how tricky it was on nights like this slowing from day time to night time speed midride, so I set off and despite still smarting from my earlier crash I promptly did a proper quick run through the woods, think I may have managed to slow myself to about 95% of daytime speed, idiot! Through akon village and home via the golf course, nice night a few new bruises and a reminder to watch what you're doing at night (a reminder i will probably ignore again)

mamils can't jump

Decided to take my blinglespeed to work on friday so I could take the long way home. Done the swoopy stuff at philips park a few times on the cross bike so figured it was time to try it on a proper bike. Climbed up to the top and did the trails on mtfu hill side of the road, as we did at HTN. Fun. The I went up and did the other side, there's a few berms then 2 bombholes in close succession, probably called double D or something else equally as humorous. The second has a bit of a kicker and has sent me and my cx bike worryingly skyward so I was on the look out for that, hit the first and woah! I maybe only went a couple of feet into the air but the ground dropped away and I was hanging in the air for ages oh and my right foot unclipped, eeek! Landed and clipped in for the second which was tame compared. Hmm laughing a lot I turned and pushed up through the trees for hopefully a less scary run, haha. Set off again hit the first and flew even higher/further landed at great speed on the down slope right on the edge of the trail with my weight on the wrong side and still not recovered from the landing, drifted off trail onto off camber which I could see ahead got very off camber/vertical, ooooh bugger! I knew I was going to crash, tried to turn in back up/onto the trail but there was no grip on the loose dirt, me and the bike hit the mercifully soft dirt on the edge of the trail. Ouchy, gravel rash and pedal strike to the shin, I can live with that. Pushed back up for another go and noticed my forks were locked out, oops reckon that had an effect, more oomph from the ramp, harsher landing and less than ideal handling. Damn. unlocked forks and had another go, unsurprisingly I didn't get much air this time, cut my losses and headed toward home, made myself feel better by riding some steep rooty stuff and the old bombhole in giants seat wood.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

New tyres please

I think this one's had it


Front is looking a bit tired too

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Up sticks

A route I pinched off the rollers, up glenridding, over Raise, down the top half of Sticks pass and round the back of Sheffield pike, then a loop around ullswater/boredale. Sunday morning me and Johnnie were still tired from friday's ullock ride but we set off and were climbing well, certainly a lot better than last time I was riding up there!

Quite cloudy and a constant threat of rain, we made it up to the zig zags without incident but on the push up the rain started, pack a macs out we pushed on but it soon blew over. As we got to the ridge the wind was hellish, proper battering us, as we turned towards Raise it became a slightly cross tailwind, bit of welcome uphill power but liable to knock you offline if you didn't constantly battle against it. My oversize jacket was inflating like a balloon pushing up around my jaw/chin, bet I looked a right idiot. With wind assistance I cleaned the climb to raise, a quick look at the view

and off we went, first bit was excellent, loose scree around big rocks, multiple lines, brilliant fun. Faster section to the top of sticks then another quick bit on a raised well surfaced trail, it was quite trail centre-esque, saw a presumably natural tabletop hit it with speed, cleared it then saw the trail banked sharply right immediately after, whoops, BRAAAAKE....and just made it round, phew. Got technical again quickly with some proper dodgy stream crossings, large penalty for failure and slick wet rocks meant a few sheepish push/dab moments. Nice rocky singletrack down to the quarry, stopped for a snack then pushed up a "trail may become indistinct..." path, turned right at the dead sheep and finally made it to Nick Head.

As you can see gorgeous views but also a bit of a drop to the left and I seem to have found a major flaw in my riding, I had real trouble here, some not all that tricky riding with a few big rock steps thrown in but the magnetic pull of the void to the left just did not do it for me and I struggled. A bit meh to be honest, Johnnie was underwhelmed too, wasn't just me. A gate then some proper unflowy grass with big rocks (after a slagging from a nowty walker) got better tho and I quite enjoyed the bottom section. Next we dropped down some tech singletrack round Seldom Seen, basically a big rut (yuk) the sides embedded with big wet rocks (ewww) and some mental roots for good measure (bleurgh) all combined to make it proper hardwork and very very slippery. I rode a decent amount of it but it's been a while since I've dabbed that much, couple of proper front wheel slips too. Sketchy.

We hit the road at the bottom and rode around towards patterdale but Johnnie was knackered and I could do with some recouping some brownie points at home so we binned it and headed back to the car for an early finish. Got chatting to a local on his way up to do sticks and he reckons it's a great descent so think we'll give that a go next time, sheffield pike is one piece of lakeland cheek the walkers are welcome to IMO*

So how do I make myself better at dealing with exposed trails?

maybe I should practice on Radwanderung...

*re-reading that sounds like I hated it, I didn't was fun in parts, but there's other better stuff around there so I doubt I'll be riding this again.

The dogs ullocks

Me and Johnnie traipsed up to the lakes again for one of the biggies, skiddaw. Weather was looking iffy, we parked near the leisure centre and started off up briar rigg to the top car park. A bit of rain reminded us this is still a british summer, arm warmers and gillet sufficed especially with all the climbing. I started on the zigzags, was doing OK passed my previous efforts but then a bit of inattentiveness and the back wheel spun a little sending me off course and unable to rectify, damn! I could have made it another few meters but as we still had another 2miles and 1800ft it's not as tho I missed a potential clean. Off and pushing, chatting to walkers the weather and gradient eased a bit and we got back to riding. Got to the summit climb once again envoloped in cloud, (I've never seen the view from the top!) I decided to have a bloody good go at it. Was soon breathing hard and after a few mintues started to zig zag across the wide trail, wobbling about all over the shop. With no view ahead so no idea how far I had to go it was a bit demoralising eventually I'd had it, fell to the side of the trail and spent a few mins hyperventilating, Johnnie appeared from the gloom and we set off again. Navigation was a bit iffy and it was blowing a gale up top, not the place to hang around deliberating. Ducking behind the minimal shelter up top was blessed relief. We soon kitted up and set off down a likely looking trail - the right one fortunatley. Steeeeeep scree to start, fun fun fun in a scary death drop just to the right kinda way. We soon dropped out of the cloud and began ullock, man I love this trail, proper rocky tech, brilliant. We picked our way down it til we reached that steep bit (4:30 in this vid) could spot a line, went back and lined up for it but gibbed it. Dropped my bike down the 3' section then saddled up and did the bit immediatley afterwards proper out of control, barely hanging on to it. Whoosh! Another instant adrenaline spike on top of high baseline you normally get riding down ullock. After that it's a bit faster, less scary, more giggle inducing, lotsa fun. We dropped down all the way through the quarry too, won't bother again, the ride back it a bit tiresome, proper overgrown with ferns. We stopped for a chat at the forest gate, wittering on about the downhill until whilst astride the bike I overbalanced and fell off the trail, could have been nasty but I managed to jump away from the bike and land on my feet, phew, survive ullock pike and early hurt myself at the gate stop.

Next we rode up towards the dodd, up through a chicken run in the forest, wire fence on oneside and rocks/trees on the other trying to snag bars, low branches trying to take your head off, tricky, a final push up a rooty bit and we popped out into a dead calm clearing at the end of a pristine fire road, strange. That took us easily up to the saddle between dodd and carlside and another push got us upto whitestones. This looked tricky infact a walker was struggling to get himself down the first tricky bit, hmmm. We also pushed down that then picked our way down couple more unrideable bits but I managed a fair bit, committing to stuff I may have gibbed before, maybe even last year, I was riding well with a fair bit of confidence. A few dodgy moments but ok. Got really steep and grassy later, I was catching up with the walker, I stopped to wait for johnnie and I saw the walker slip onto his arse and go sliding down the hill unable to stop. Too much of an opportunity to show off, I set off again, with my arse way behind the saddle almost on the rear tyre, arms at full stretch brake fingers working overtime to keep speed low without locking up (I love hope modulation) I rode passed him with a cheery "good afternoon", a smile plastered on my face. Cheeky I know. I stopped for some jelly babies sat against the fence at the bottom watching the walker and then johnnie slip and slide their way down on foot or arse* :-)

More steep grass to finish with more of a run out so how fast do you dare go? How long can you stay off the brakes? Whoosh. For some reason I thought this descent took us back to latrigg car park so the climb from applethwaite was an unwelcome surprise. With tired legs we winched our way to the top then relatively slowly down to briar rigg (4pm on a summer day bound to be walkers) Another excellent adventure. Only 12miles but with >1600m of climbing proper hard work.

*johnnie reckoned he only rode about 10% of whitestones/doups so, like warnscale bottoms, one for friends with a sense of humour - or people who have been annoying me lately ;-)

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Keep Tuesdays special

Someone loves us, trail pixies, the elements, weather deity of your choice, dunno but our Tuesday rides this year have been great. Seem to remember loads of washouts last year but we've been going great guns lately even when the weather has been rubbish during the day it's come good for riding. Ryan has been hitting rivi with us and we've shown him our usual trails to mixed reviews, he's not fond of rocks - could be a problem if he wants to continue riding with us, especially if he joins us on a lakes trip!
Ice cream run a couple weeks ago was proper messed up, dodgiest I've seen it and a couple of boulders placed in the landing spot of a drop I've been riding lately, fortunately spotted before take off! San marino, 2 lads, wildeswood, all the usual, also hit Lowey's singletrack a few times as Ryan likes "flowy" stuff. He has got plenty of confidence so I had hopes of him riding that corner first time but a short shower before we got there (only rain we've seen on a Tuesday for ages) meant it was wet, I was a bit squirelly riding it and Ryan declined saying "next time" and sure enough a week later he nailed it first go. Si had a few goes, almost had it 1st time but over braked while riding out and front wheel skid sent him into the side, the other 2 attempts weren't as good, lost the rhythm but he'll be back.
This week we did a longer more xc route, winter hill, shoulder, lead mines, reservoirs, up through the gardens and George's lane back to the road and golf course to finish, another great night, long may they continue.


Couple weeks ago me n Johnnie set out for the Peak District, it was overcast and chilly as we got ready, sun tan lotion applied but arm warmest on top for the time being, good shout too coz after the chill of the cold side descent the climb back up to hollins cross warmed us up and the weather got a little better, a little sunnier, in fact just right for riding! Cold side was fun with added dead sheep on the main trail, naturally Johnnie took the vegan line around it. I fluffed the climb back up was going well but a second's lack of concentration and I couldn't keep traction over a rock and went off course, was feeling ok upto that point too, grrrr. Cavedale next, a new one for Johnnie and one I often stress about. Let some air out of my front tyre took some of the rocky lines a tiny bit slower and quite enjoyed myself. Steep climb up to do pindale, the usual mental rocky descent has had some of the gaps filled in with dust and gravel, a much smoother run. Road into hope then climb past hope station onto win hill. As soon as we hit the top we turned down a footpath, nice little run down nothing too exciting but a couple of decent drops right at the bottom. Straight back up the roman road to hope cross. Bit of route editing we decided to do the beast but push backup instead of going round and up blackley hey. Beast was slippery but fun, few dodgy moments between the two of us but we managed to get down unscathed. Push up then we went down jaggers clough, nice run down to the ford steep climb out but the next downhill seems to have changed, pretty sure there were water bar bumps/troughs to jump, not anymore. Spin along the road towards Edale but turned up passed backtor farm. Toughie this and has gotten even worse over the years, lots of pushing then a ride up passed the rambling horde (a few grumps) around mam tor and back to the car. Nice one, nice trails, arms a little pink but no major dehydration issues, no crashes, major refuel at Disley village bakers, sorted, just don't mention the drive back, not pleasant on a Friday afternoon.