Getting to the car park and we saw Donk and Burk already kitting up, pretty soon after Stuart and his mate arrived and we got the introductions over. This was always going to be a smaller group and by the time we set off we were about 12, a good number. Graham and Nick had come over, Matt made the trip up too, also, Jacqui arrived, being the sole representative of Team Darlo (and by far the best looking of that rabble!). Gordy2 from the forum represented the senior element of the group and at 66 years young, was an inspiration to cycle with.
So started off with a nice gradual climb on a country lane heading out towards the moor and soon off road towards the shapely peak of Sharp Haw. Great climb to start the day, nice and gradual to start with then getting a bit steeper and finally a lot steeper at the end. I failed to clear the climb 10' from the top, running out of steam but Matt and Donk cleared it easily.
Grand view from the top and we waited for Troutie, who didnt arrive so after 15 mins wait we decided to head down. 1st down of the day and signalled what a treat we were in for. Absolute blast! singltrack through bracken, then woods and over all manner of surface, rocks, mud, roots and gravel it had it all and spat us out at Flasby with us all grinning like idiots.
Road spin along to Hetton was nice and relaxing in some superb scenery. At Hetton we dived down a tight walled track where some "mons" nettles got a grip of me on my hands, through a gate and past some real nice houses we came out on the main road at Rylstone.
A Quick dice with death by cycling along the main road to the bridleway up onto Bardon moor was soon done. I knew what was coming up here, having walked up to Sun Moor many years ago, so I took it easy at the beginning, joining Gordy for a chat on the way up. As it got steeper and steeper, only Matt was still going in front of me and Donk right behind, I was feeling good and pretty confident of clearing the climb, then Matt got stuck on some loose stuff. I got past him but just stalled on some bedrock 20m from the top. Bastard! The only saving grace was the I fooked Donk up as well :)
Dinner stop at the top and then a wonderful bit of gritty singltrack through the heather towards Embsay moor.
From the top of Embsay Crag, Stu showed us some lines off and then led down the proper one. I waited at the top with the camera to get the gang riding down.
Johnnie kindly subbed me some cash for a pint of Skiptons foaming finest....
Along the road to Halton and a steady climb up Moor lane. Here Donk and Burk decided to split and do Embsay crag again and scoot back to Skipton as time was getting on. We continued along a nice grassy bw towards Bolton Abbey. Here, seeing a bit of a drop, I put the hammer down and flew past Nick, egging him on to try and catch me. We were flying down a steep grass bank when I slammed on at a dirt drop, jumped over it and then heard an almighty fookin THUD. I hauled up and turned to see Nick in a big heap. He had a minute to gather his thoughts and then found he had split his helmet in the fall. I felt pretty bad from about 1 second before ripping the piss out of him. With hindsight this was probably a bad idea as Karma was about to bite me on the arse.
At the next gate, Stu said there was a good jump halfway down the field and I, having the camera should follow him down and park up to get some snaps of the group going over it. As I approached it and compressed to pull up, the back wheel kicked up on the suspension rebound at the top of the jump pitching me right forward. Slow motion time then started as I nose dived straight into the deck and went down like a sack of shit. Stu was next to me and said he expected me to be proper broke as I went down that hard. As it was I had winded myself, which I fookin hate. I got my breath back and stood up but my shoulder was killing me, couldnt move my arm above half way. Claires mate very kindly gave me some painkillers which helped and then I set about mending the bike. The bars were twisted and the cables needed adjusting, but I had knackered my rear brake lever. Bummer. Still managed to get a shot of Nick showing me how it was done.