Was the request from Wors and Toss earlier this month. They had been chatting in the pub about how long it had been since we did a full on Lakes epic, and decided to get their shit together and organise one.
In a remarkably short amount of time we all managed to get a date when we would be able to ride, so Saturday 27th was to be the date. I couldnt decide between some hardcore carrying around the Newlands or something a bit more straightforward. As it was, Danny lead the Boggies on the Helvellyn traverse the week before and it whetted my appitie so Helvellyn it was. All we needed was the weather.
Rather omniously, the forecast for Friday was for a snow band to pass over the Lakes, but Saturday was looking fine. We decided to chance it.
JD joined us also and we managed to find a greasy van for a cracking Bacon and Sausage to start the day off.
Over Kirkstone and it quickly became obvious that there was indeed a bit of snow up on the hills, but not enough to bother us. Parked up at the lay-by just after Glenridding and got kitted up.
Was pretty windy to be honest and a touch chilly too so we all layered up.
Within 5 mins of the climb up to Dockray, everyone was stopped and stripping off. Long steady climb this was to get the heart pumping and we were soon at the start of the coach road. Couple of geordie lads caught us up here and we had a good crack with them. Turns out they were planning to doing the same route, but had never done it before.
Next up Brutts Moss. This has the capacity to swallow you whole and belch contentedly afterwards. Those of us light enough and careful enough got through no problem. Unfortunatly, JD did not resemble any of those descriptions and the big blundering oaf went in up to his bollocks. Unfortunately I wasnt around to see his sinking, but Toss regaled us with the commentary Apparently he was cursing the hill, the path, me and life in general. Seriously though, turned out he tweeked his hip when he was being sucked off and the poor lad was struggling for the rest of the climb. The rest of the climb being a fucking brutal tussle with Great Dodd. All 2800' of it. I was pretty glad to see the top actually and the whole of the Dodd's ridge stretched out before us right up to Helvellyn itself on the horizon.
Undulating ridge ride past Stybarrow and Watsons Dodd, and we sped down to the top of Sticks Pass. Here JD had to retire. He was in to much pain and it would have been fool hardy for his to continue up the 2 biggest carry;s of the ride. I was actually pretty jealous of him though as he got to ride Sticks, which I have been meaning to tick off for ages now.
Shouldered the bikes for the pull up onto Riase. It was hard work but over pretty quick and then a quick spin before the final pull up Lower Man. The summit was now in sight and the sun even came out to help us celebrate getting there.
Butties in the shelter and we had a spin to the Gough Memorial for the classic view of Striding edge before we headed over to Nethermost and Dollywagon. Was great high level riding in glorious conditions, we really were lucky with the weather.
I knew what was coming up and was pretty circumspect with my riding. Toss gave Dollywagon a fucking good go and I reckon Jase probably cleared 90% of it with some great riding. But the water bars did for me. Was good fun egging each other on though.
At the bottom we were stright into the natural techy Grisedale descent. This was much more up my street and we all really enjoyed this bit. Multiple different lines down bedrock and loose scree, it was fucking ACE! It did however beat you up and was pretty energy sapping. Toss's legs started to shake uncontrollably here, much to mine and Wor's amusement.
After Ruthwaite Lodge the trails evened out and bit and we had a great spin back to the car. As a great end to the day, we called into Hawkshead Brewery for some fine ale. A fine way to end a perfect day.