Tuesday, 20 August 2013

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 ;-)

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