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.

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