21 February 2013

Three Days of Fantasic Riding

Well the forecast was looking on the brighter side for a change so it was time to hit the saddle. On Sunday the CX bike was dragged out for a 38 mile ride along the lines with a couple of friends, the sun was shining but still cold. My legs were starting to hurt by the time we hit Birtley so I swung onto the road for a cruise home to help my legs out over the next two days planned riding in the Lakes. It turned out that I only missed another 4-5 miles from the full planned route, theres all ways another day.
Day two we hit Whinlatter forest for the Altura Red routes. We always do the North loop first so of we head. Tracks were way drier than normal and the sun was out, very rare. Sweating on the climbs but very cold on the descents. Fair amount of ice but the tracks were fast under tyre. Second section of the downhill was closed for maintenance but nobody was working on it. Still got the last section, best bit in back down to the road. Back to the carpark to drop off coats etc then onto the South loop.

Expecting the same trail conditions as the North we thought we were going to have a flying loop but no, alot wetter / muddier and more ice but the sun was still out. Good climb to the top for a few quick pics then downwards. The first section is very rough now and needs sorting out. The second section was closed but at least two blokes were working on it. Last section was a good blast before heading back to the carpark. One thing to note I checked the Forestry Commission and http://cyclewise.co.uk/ website before going and neither mentioned that there was sections closed on both loops, not good compaired to 7 Staines site (there is notice on now for the South Loop!)

Day three and the last day we headed south to Grizedale Forest to tackle the North Face red route. This is the first time to Grizedale compaired to our many visits to Whinlatter. We have heard / read some very neutral / negative comments so was not sure what to expect really. We headed for the visitor centre which was empty as the Forestry Commission has decided to close all there shops (inc Hamseterley & Whinlatter) to find the start. Once through the gate it was a uphill drag to get into the woods then stright onto singletrack. Rough in places but ok. Again sunny but cold in the shade / descents and loads of ice again. There was a good mix of singletrack, forest track, rock gardens etc. There was one section closed with nobody working on it and the diversion was boring. There was a second section closed but the signs were flat on the ground and barrier removed, there was a lad in front who went down it so we followed. Pleased we didnt miss this one out, good singletrack and no signs of anyboby doing any work at all. The only fast flowing downhill singletrack was the very last section back to the centre. Fantastic views of the fells etc. Defo be going back again but the road there is crap and takes ages so unless you are in the Lakes around that area its not worth the drive. Not many photos as the camera battery wa flat and forgot to charge the spare.

Again there was no notice of closed sections on the web or at the start. We did have a look around the on site cycle shop which was very well stocked and great choice of everything http://www.grizedalemountainbikes.co.uk/ didnt have time to sample the cafe!
Day Four and it was back to normal, bloody freezing with strong wind and no sign of the sun. Had to go and buy another coat as I was that cold. Check out the temperature on the way home in the afternoon, it was -2 when we got to Alston and that was without the wind chill factor !
Back home and half day washing bikes and kit, oh the joys

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