Monday, 19 April 2010

Deejay's Birthday Ride

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....
Quite what one of the smoothest riders I know was doing on a beginners skills course was beyond me, but Dave said he had a good time.

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.
Off we all set and a gentle spin out to the Sportmans Arms at Wath and then a murderously steep climb up to Spring Wood Top. As we cycled along the bridleway I noticed that Gouthwaite Res was flat calm, reflecting the other side wonderfully. I tried to get a pic of it but it came out pretty shit really, so I'll pinch Deejays.

At the  bottom of the lakeside bridleway, the last ride we went left, however this time we turned right and started to instantly climb up to Covell House Moor. The track was steep, wide and rocky and provided a real good challenge to fresh legs. I couldn't help but think as I toiled my way up that it would make a much better descent than a climb. I was not to be disapointed. Nick, Tom and young Tom were all climbing well and got to the top making it look easy. It was a brutal climb, steep in places but seemed to go on and on. Needless to say we were all well warmed up at the top. Quick drink and refreshment stop and we hung a left along past Fountains Earth Moor and onto the road junction. I was loving the views, the moors seemed to be endless, proper big country which reminded me very much of Swaledale, but slightly less green. At the road junction, Craig set the tone for the day with his first puncture splashing white jizz all over his rim :). While we were waiting, Jacqui very kindly broke out the Jelly Babies. Quick Spin over the road and we arrived at a shooting hut. Nick piped up that we were going to drop down to our left and pointed to Thorpe Farm in the Valley below. I took a peep over the edge and spotted the farm which looked a fooking LONG way down and not very far away, suggesting a bowel looseningly steep drop. Sure enough, Nick and Dave pointed out the two routes available. The long bumpy steady traverse, quiet steep and rocky, or the nutters only option of going straight over the edge. Only two nutters stepped up to the mark, predictably Tom and Craig, the latter making it look proper easy.

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.
From there it was a steep grassy plunge to the farm, where we all regrouped and tried to figure out where the fuck the horrendous smell of burning brake pads was coming from :)

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.

It soon got chilly not riding, so after we were all fed we headed back over the dam for the climb back along the Nidderdale Way and back up onto the moor. There was a tricky little drop down to a stream crossing which caught me out really, I was following Mel down and as it got steeper, it suddenly got very rocky and loose right on a hairpin bend. A few of the guys had stopped here to watch riders coming down it and I nearly ended up collecting Trevor, when I found out that I had lost the ability to steer. A handful of brake got me out of the shit however and I was on my way down. Unfortunately I had missed Nick falling off, which I was gutted about. Apparently he had a superman moment on some rocks and had to wipe himself up off the trail. Just across the stream and the path ascended very steep and loose ground. Tom, Craig and Deejay managing to get up it whilst most of us shuddered at the thought. Fast and loose bridle track followed, the surface was in such great, dusty condition that we were all hammering along it at a right old rate of knots without us realising it. We ate up the miles and before long were stopped at the shooting hut at the top of the steep descent to Thorpe Farm. Quick breather here and a chance to appreciate the view back to Scar House.
The breather also allowed Craig to repair yet another puncture, the lad was quickly running out of tubes and had to ponce one from another rider. After the shooting hut we kind of back tracked on the earlier way until we got to the split and we took the BW up to Combs Fell. From here it promised to be all downhill to Bouthwaite!! and it was. A fast paced double track, plenty of loose stuff pinging up from everyone's wheels as we all hammered down. I got to the penultimate gate and tried to get some vids of the guys coming down.

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!!
We then retraced our tracks from the morning along the BW and then the road back to Pateley. Turns out the Jacqui had got Dave a cake and everyone suddenly looked at me for a lighter to light the bloody candles. I actually felt guilty for having packed in and not being able to oblige. Chucky fortunately stepped in and got them lit with the lighter in the car and Deejay posed for the picture.

All in all, a brilliant day out and probably the best ride of the year so far. Came out at 30.5 miles and a whisker over 4000' of climbing, but the pace was pretty bloody quick. My legs were feeling it that night.

Cheers all for a good turn out and a cracking day out.

4 comments:

D0NK said...

Sorry to have missed this one, sounds a cracker and the pics look good. Do you fancy showing me and Johnnie (& maybe others) round it sometime?

lowey said...

Not a chance mate. My diary is filling rapidly. 1 Lakes ride planned for may and 1 swaledale ride. 2 x 2 day epics planned for June... plus family duties.

I can send you the GPX if you like.

How was your deviants weekend ?

D0NK said...

Yeah I'll have a gpx ta, see if I can do something with it (mmo would be better if you have it tho)
Deviants weekend was really good, some of the sweetest flowy singletrack I have ever had the pleasure to ride - with the drinking vs riding ratio SS events have I'm surprised you don't give it a go :-)

lowey said...

Whilst the beer does indeed sound appealing, it would require me to start singlespeeding and, as you well know, I would rather have to pull a kidney out of my own arse with a piece of rusty barbed wire.