Sunday, 24 January 2010

Singletrackworld Northern Chapter in Ambleside.

The 24th finally came round and it was the STW Northern Chapter meet. Gavgas, a local rider in the lakes said he had something special planned for us all, and he didnt let us down.

I had an empty car as, rather predictably, all my regular riding buddies had other comitments. So I spoke to  Dave and arranged to pick him up at 8ish. We made good time up the M6 and arrived at the meeting point at Clappersgate for about 9.15. Nick, Nick, Kieth and a few other lads were already there, and Ton and Johnnie turned up soon after. The car park was too small for the expected turn out so a lot of the gang parked at Under Loughrigg and cycled over at 10ish.

I was fookin freezing at this point, but resisted the temptation to put a base layer on knowing that if we were doing the Golf Course climb to Loughrigg I'd be melting in no time. Off we set, all 39!! of us. Gav directed us over to Loughrigg and sure enough the steep climb soon warmed us up. Stoney came fly past me on his SS, the first but not the last time I was deeply impressed with the lad.

At the top gate, rather than take the BW down to the Tarn, we turned sharp left and headed over to Lily Tarn and then a cracking DH though Fishgarth Woods. Rocks and roots were all slippery as hell and gave me some hairy moments, but we all made it down OK. It was a great descent.

Over the foot bridge, Gav then took us on a foray into Jeffy Knots Wood. Proper off piste stuff, great fun. Sadly at this point we lost Steve, his shock blowing its bollocks off and compressing down. Fortunatly, it was only a short push back the car for him, however he then faced a boring day waiting for us all to get back as he was driving Deejay. Personally, I'd have informed Dave that he was now on driving duties and then spent the rest of the day in the pub. Turned out he just did a bit of shopping.

After Jeffy Knots, a quick skip over a fence(!) and we were on the road to Skelwith Fold Park and we headed to the Hawkshead Road. Taking a right up to the Drunken Duck, we stopped for another mechanical. Not sure who it was or what had happened, but as we got going I noticed huge play in my front hub. Tony suggested that my weekling arms had not done up the QR enough and he applied some "Ton Power". I made a mental note to be near Tony at the end of the ride as there was no fookin way I;d get it off :).

Road work to Knipe Fold and we headed up the Bridleway to Iron Keld. Some sort of race team (they were all in team lycra) came flying past us on the climb as though we were standing still, some young kids in the group too.  At the cheeky turn off to Iron Keld we parked up for some lunch. Johnnie broke out his vegan sandwiches, which looked like they were made from parrot shit. It really didn't look appetizing at all.

Gav announced that Andy from Biketreks had kindly put up a few prizes for anyone who could clear the next climb. I set off on the bike at got to the top of the first bit and thought what a piece of piss, before noticing the climb ahead. I reckon it looked doable so hung back a bit, but Jacqui infront also had the same idea, as well as the people infront of her. It was impossible to get a bit of space. I still avoided her when she did stop, but it took me off line. I managed to get to about 4 yards short of the top! Not a bad effort for me, I was quite chuffed. Donk, naturally made it, but failed on the less steep but rocky bit after. Only Max from Keswick Bikes made the full climb.

The descent down Arnside intake was a hoot as ever. I was following Brian, when he had a "moment" on a bit of a rocky chute. The guys back wheel was almost level with his head. How he saved himself from a superman was anybody's guess. I congratulated him on his gymnastic ability at the bottom.

Regroup at the road and we headed up to Tongue Intake Plantation. Clare mentioned that we would be going down "Rock and Rolla". I was looking forward to this, having seen pics of it on the Boggies but never having ridden it. It was fookin Belting!! Proper steep rollers, loose and rocky with slippery roots thrown in for good measure all the way down! The bottom of the decent being the steepest and having no run out at all except into a wall and fence.

I parked up at the bottom and positioned myself behind a tree just in case and snapped a few of the riders hurting down.

 I pissed my sides at Ton, who discovered at this point that his brakes did nothing to halt his progress. When he did actually manage to stop, his disk's were stinking and the rotor's black. G kindly offered to spit on them for effect, sizzling away "Look its even cooking the Gob" he announced in his rough Rossy vernacular.

Over to Stang End and a left turn on the path that would take us to Hodge Close. Here, Gav had a bit of a play in mind, taking us down a steep chute on the edge of a slate spoil heap. I edged to the side on a different one to get some pics of the riders going down it, and from my spot it looked pretty steep. Deejay got a shot of me and Nick watching the fun...

Everyone had a go at it and everyone got down, me and Nick going last, I dropped the saddle to "Rad mode" and set off. Was nowhere near as bad as I though it would be but great fun all the same.

Gav then took us up a brutal climb out of the quarry. A couple of guys cleared it, but my legs were feeling the indulgencies of Christmas and I had no hope.
It went basically stright up the slate heap in this pic.
At the top we meandered through Moss Rigg Wood and finished with a brilliant slippy descent the the Little Langdale path and then over the ford.

The Boggies upheld their tradition of of cycling through hub deep water whilst most sensible people looked on from the dry bridge.

Quick scoot past the The Three Shires and up to Sawrey's Wood for the descent to Elterwater / Chapel Stile. Some of the guys elected to take the double track to Elterwater, whereas others including me took the Singletrack to the quarry. This was fookin ace!!! the track has been battered by the rain and had some tasty small drops and rough rocks kicking your wheels all over the place. Donk took a wrong turn and stayed on the right of the wall, ended up having an argument with a tree trunk. He lost.

Down through the quarry and Me, Graham, Marcus and Nick spun along the road gearing ourselves up for the brutal climb up to Hodge Close. Engage Granny and spin whilst shootin the breeze, we were soon at the top, where Gav distributed chocolate biscuits. Above and beyond the call of duty, the man deserves a medal. Clare also offered around some hot squash, I wasn't thirsty but Nick marveled over it. Loughrigg Terrace was the next destination, I mentioned to Gav that open red sock warfare could occur here, and I insisted on staying behind G as he was the only one with a bell! As it turned out, it was deserted. I have never ever seen this path devoid of walkers so let the brakes off and razed down. It was ace. On the last rocky bit, Johnnie let Nick through, but blocked me. I am convinced that he was trying to get me off after I knocked him off in Grizedale the other week. He clearly holds a grudge!!

(Pic by SFB From the Boggies).
At the bottom, Nicks mates turned Left and headed to Grasmere! We only found this out back at the cars. We got changed and drove back to Under Loughrigg for coffee, cake and chocolates. Gav provided a big tin of Hero's which Andy at Biketreks had kindly provided. As we were chatting a police van came down the road, unbelievably with Joe, on of the missing lads in it!! Turns out they had stopped a copper to ask directions back to the car and he offered them a lift! Classic.

Cracking day out, legs were quite sore considering it was only 21 miles. Big thanks to Gav for a great route.


Anonymous said...

Johnnie broke out his vegan sandwiches, which looked like they were made from parrot shit. It really didn't look appetizing at all

My body is a temple is all I am saying

j.vosper said...

unfortunately the copper never gave us a lift with the bikes,he just took joe(green mountain goat)off for a ride to find you all then came back then we rode to the car park and met up with nick along the way.
i was pretty much f@@ked by this point and it was 29miles by the time we reach the car.fab ride ppl lookin forward to the next 1.
note to self if in doubt wait(bloodyfools)
jamie(grey and blue specialized)

j.vosper said...

with less of a detour at the end :D

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