I had to drop the Girls off at Blackpool on Sunday at 11am, this left the day free. Whohooo a Sunday ride, the world was my Oyster!!
So I hatch a plan, drop the girls off, high tail it up to Dufton and ride This Route. Ok, not strictly speak Cross Fell, but I was planning on bagging the summit in an up / down from the col between Cross Fell and Little Dun Fell.
Was predictably running a little late and didn't get to Dufton till 1.30pm. A ludicrous time to start an epic ride, but I had charged and fitted my lights in anticipation of a late finish. Through the picturesque village green I started the climb up to the Nick. Fuck me this one goes on... unremittingly steep, it sails ever upwards towards the horizon without mercy. In the hot and humid weather I was sweating buckets. Turning the corner at the wall as I joined the edge of the Nick, the path soon turned into an undulating mass of boulders and smooth limestone. After one little diversion down a steep bouldery slope I felt like the bike just watched to pitch me over the bars at any given opportunity.. the thing really did have a mind of its own and today, I wasn't up to the job of controlling it. At one point i even got off and walked down a seemingly innocuous chute. I really do feel way to far forward on this bike, like I'm going to get pitched over the bars straight away. Will aybe shift the saddle back a bit for the next ride, but a up / down seatpost is needed for my confidence.
Nice spin on close cropped grass to the top of the Nick and the view was stunning. It really is a breath taking geological feature when seen from its head. I forded the stream and hit the first disaster of the day. Another problem I have found with the bike is that the front end wants to pop up ALL the time when climbing steep stuff. Just the other side of the stream was a steep little up... probably about 6m or so. On my old bike I would have pissed it. Anyway, set of up this, gets to about a meter before the top and stalls. Front wheel starts lifting and over I go BACKWARDS... fookin ridiculous. A full on back somersault still clipped in, landed like a sack of shit some 3 meters back down the hill for the bike to come crashing down on me. A moment or two spent checking myself over and the only injury I had was my right thumb... it was fucking killing me. Keeping it moving seemed the best bet and I had a lot of movement in it so I decided to carry on. With hindsight, I should have turned back here.
A lovely gentle spin along close cut grass to Maize Beck then over the bridge for a climb over Rasp Hill. Big wide country up here... the moor stretching in all directions as far as the eye could see. The down hill to Cow Green started about here. The track is very rough and I just could not get a grip on the bars that didnt have my thumb in pain. Using the Gears was a no no as was braking. At Cow Green, took a few pics then followed the long boring mine road around Backside Fell whilst keeping a eye out for a suitable peel off point to head across country to Metalband hill and the start of the Trout Beck climb. It wasn't too bad actually, difficult riding but nothing too extreme, although at one point I had to get a compass bearing to make sure I was heading in the right direction. Pushing the bike was hurting my hand even more that riding at this stage, but I thought "soon be on the BW, I'll be ok then". How fucking wrong was I ? I never ever want to see this track ever again. Boggy, rocky, rutty and washed away by the river. It was stop start stop start all the fucking way up. The sections of the trail that had been washed away had to be negotiated by pushing the bike along a loose precarious slope, the pedals twatting me constantly (I tell you... this bike fucking hates me). It was just not fun, even less so with a thumb that screemed out in pain at the merest knock. It was getting so bad that I was beginning to dread the very reason I was here to do this ride... the Fabled Blencarn descent. A massive long bumpy descent with a busted thumb was not appealing at this moment.
I finally climbed out of the path from hell and reached the road near the top of Great Dun Fell. Here I had to make a choice... push on over Great and Little Dun fell to the Blencarn descent... I really really wanted to do this having worked so hard to get here, but it was just not a sensible option. The descent would have been agony. The other options were the Silverband to Milburn BW... but again, I had no knowledge of this and didnt know if it would be rough... so I had no option than to take the tarmac all the way down.
It was the sensible option but it broke my heart loosing all that altitude with a tarmac descent.
I arrived back at the car not long after in Dufton, packed up and found the nearest shop to get some ibuprofen.
Later in the shower I found 3 other particularly impressive bruises, shoulder, leg and back.
Gutted about not finishing the ride, I'd looked forward to it for so long and this being a Day ride when I didnt have the kids. Still cant be helped.
I am however, having a real love hate relationship with this new bike. I've had one ride where is felt fucking brilliant, the last two however I have just felt like it wants to kill me. The front end pops up for fun, on anything remotely steep if feels like I'm going to get pitched over the bars and the amount of pedal strikes I had on this ride was plain ridiculous. I want desperately to like it, but fuck me I want my old one back.