Monday, 15 June 2015

Backside Soloist

I ummed and ah-ed long enough about doing this ride but made it out eventually and decided on a route, of the myriad I had buzzing around my head. Parked up on the kentmere road, set off and crossed the river at ullthwaite bridge and started the climb up to high boranes. Forecast was ok but the clouds looked brooding. Just as I got to HB I felt spots of rain on my face, hang on, this wasn't part of the plan. Fortunately it didn't develop further, onto dubbs rd and meandered over to garburn rd, made ok time but now the climbing started proper, up we go, nice spinny gear, the resurfacing is starting to look a little worn but I managed to clean it all ok, no idea how I did coz strava threw a wobbler. I ignored the pass and kept heading up, it was a slog upto the yoke, by now the clouds over to the west had deepened and it looked very wet over there. There was a gentle bit of down before an ok ride up to ill bell, some more interesting descending then another push up to froswick, totally sheltered on the push up as I topped out I was hit by wind and rain, kentmere valley to my right was still bathed in sunlight with a few clouds but to my left was grey and miserable. The ridge seemed to be a weather front, sun on my right cheek the left wet with rain, hmm. The down almost immediately has some very hairy exposed sections, managed bits but was slightly disappointed with myself, mind you, it was still early days, plenty more to go. 

The push up to high street was steep grass and as that eased it turned to a nadgery exposed ribbon, contouring around the edge of the plateu, more pushing, some navigational fannying around to cut the corner then finally got across to mardale Ill bell, tbh next time I'll probably continue to the race course for a bit more down. The descent started straight into stone pitch, tech but not too bad, then some liberal dashings of big **** off rocks means a bit of lifting the bike, then back of for a mostly dab free second half down to nan bield shelter, woohoo. No time to stop as I rode straight on down the backside, never been down here before, sketchy as a sketchy thing. Way to thrutchy to ever conceivably be cleanable but lots of tech bits were dispatched (in some cases soon followed by heading off trail while hauling on the anchors. Had to stop for a rest before small water, my arms were killing me, very hard work, I may have had a winter of riding but 2min downhills haven't put much meat on my weedy arms and I struggle with these big Lakeland  runs. Bit of shoving around the lake then back on the pedals, a few dead end trails if you miss a turn off your left with a biiiiig drop to the trail below. Around this point I had my crash mentioned in another post, steep down with a step at the end, rock straight after it, tried to bounce the front wheel off the ground and over the rock but no, front tucked under. Ouch.

Picked myself up and carried on, shaken up and a little more cautious but made it down ok. Sat for a bit of cake at mardale head, Harter fell was towering above me, it looked a long way up. I got on and started pedalling up gatescarth but it didn't last long, I was soon pushing and then carrying then more pushing, I'll spare you the grim details but more of the same pushing and carrying until the top of Harter fell some time later. A bit of time inspecting the view, could see the ridge I had travelled up in the morning, looked awesome. I set off down again, still not massively confident, I was a bit below par but nothing too embarrassing, rode most refused a little earlier than I normally would on the really dodgy stuff, soon found myself at nan bield shelter again, this time the full month down to kentmere, off we go. Switchbacks went ok except johnnie's corner which seems to have gotten more eroded and dodgy, could have been mind games at work tho. Cleaned the steps at the bottom then contoured, I was on for a clean run til my front wheel again tucked under on a water bar I only slightly mis-timed. Didn't crash but did jam my ribs against my hands/bars as  the bike stopped dead. Hmm. Hallow bank quarter was as great as ever. I was pretty tired by now so the trail to kentmere felt a bit of a slog but I as the sun was coming out properly I rolled into kentmere then spun down the road to the car, happy knackered and a little sore. Good route but not for the faint hearted or nervous.

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