So the 18th comes around and after a few weeks of emails, we all meet up at Pateley Bridge. Dave had been promising a similar ride to the STW a few weeks ago which suited me down to the ground after my Bottom Bracket decided to explode a bit after Gowthwaite Reservoir.
A good turn out with about 20 odd I think, although I never actually counted. I was a touch late arriving, having had to go and unload in the bogs on the other car park, but as I was on my own there was minimal faffing. Dave wandered over for a chat and I quizzed him about the day before. ON the Saturday night, during a particularaly boring night of telly, I had a quick flick through facebook and Ed Oxley had posted up some pictures of a skills course he was running that day. Well fuck me, if that isnt the man himself....
Just as we were getting ready for the off, Steve potters over on his spanking new Flux. and very nice it was too. Threw my leg over it but the shock pressures were set up for Steve, who, despite my rotund appearance, would appear to have more "carriage" than me. But it did look the part and I couldn't believe how bloody light he had it set up too.
I fancied a go at it for approx 0.1 of a second before shitting myself and taking the normal route down. Even this proved to be pretty tasty, very steep and bumpy but brilliant fun.
We had a bit of a regroup at the gate half way down the defile before plunging ourselves down the rest of it. I was following Craig pretty closely at a fair rate of knots when I made the mistake of looking at my front wheel as I could smell brake pads burning. Upon looking back up I was presented with the arse end of Craig almost at a stop a few yards in front of me. He had braked pretty hard up behind Mel which resulted in me shitting myself severely whilst trying frantically to miss him. I dont think he realised just how close he had come to having a Turner suppository. Dave got a good pic of the corner in question with Mel at the front.
Ton and Mart left us at this point as Tony was out of sorts and Mart's granny ring was playing him up. I should have realised that they bailed for a good reason. And that reason soon became apparent in the shape of a BIG fuck off hill. Nick pointed out the Church of Middlesmoor perched up on the hill when we passed How Stean Gorge. From the Valley it looked a fair way up but nothing too unassailable. The road really did get proper steep though as we went past the church and sadly passed right by a promising looking pub with a Black Sheep sign outside :( However, the real sting in the tail came when the road changed from tarmac to a rocky surface and we passed some walkers coming down. "Only another 2 miles to the top lads!" one of them cheerfully shouted out. Naturally, I assumed that he was just having the crack, however the full horror of the climb soon revealed itself and I realised that the bastard wasn't joking. Craig absolutely battered us up this climb, effortlessly soaring off in the distance. The climb wasn't too bad really, just long and sustained over pretty rocky ground. However it was baked hard giving loads of grip. We were soon regrouping at the top. The panorama was superb, moorland as far as the eye could see and a cracking view down Nidderdale towards Pateley.
We set off along the moor heading towards the drop into Scar House Reservoir. I say drop, as I now know what it was. No-one mentioned that such a brilliant, steep, rocky techy descent was in store so I was blasting towards it without a clue what was coming up. It was fookin brilliant. I could hear Deejay right up my trumpet on the way down which was a tad distracting, but the drop was ace, managing to get a kick round some of the corners on the grass and really railing them. However, I was just wearing my sun gigs instead of my eye defenders and the result was my eyes were streaming like buggery, making the contact lenses jiggle around. I was plummeting down a technical track, an insane Darlington Downhill Rocket right up my chuff, and I couldnt see fook all. I tried to wipe them and this gave me a bit of vision, Dave come past me on the left and launched himself over a big rock drop which I followed, however my landing was not as smooth as his and I nearly stacked it into the bank. Nick also barrelled past on the last section, where I just pointed the bike down the middle of the rocks and hoped for the best. Praise the fookin lord I got down in one piece. It was ace. Would love to go back and try that descent again as it was a cracker.
Dinner time at the mobile greasy spoon at Scar House Dam. Had a shufty at the notice boards which charted the history of its construction. Very interesting and a proper feat of engineering. Tony and Mart rejoined us at this point and everyone settled down for a bite to eat. Me, being a prize knob head, had left my lunch (2 chocolate biscuits!) in the car but Nick was a fookin saint and gave me some of his spicy cous cous. Bloody nice it was too. However, the gastronomic treat was not yet over as I noticed Graham eating a bit of Parkin with some white stuff on top. Turned out it was Cheese!! Fookin cheese ontop of Parkin. G left me a bit and whilst it was welcome, I dont think I'll be serving it at a dinner party anytime soon.
After the last man, I set off down the last steep bit and promptly shit myself when faced with 3 off road vehicles coming up the hill. More brake pad burning. The climb of the morning proved to be a shit hot descent in the afternoon, steep, loose and rocky. was great fun. As I rejoined the pack at the bottom, I noticed about 4 guys had all flatted on the descent. Always a mark of a classic. Craig fell victim once again, taking his tally for the day to 4!!
Cheers all for a good turn out and a cracking day out.