A word that that pretty much sums up this ride!
WOW, it’s cold; WOW, that’s wet; WOW, its sooo hot n sunny now; WOW, what a view!; WOW, that now THAT was a downhill! and WOW I’m tired but well happy!
Wasn’t an ideal start to the ride, 4deg and thick freezing fog for the first 6 miles along the valley. On the plus side tho no one could see the very big hill we were about to ride/walk/push up. But things started to quickly warm up, partly due to the effort on the soggy climb onto Cross Fell but mainly because of the blue skies and bright sunshine that greeted us when we broke thru the clouds and over the inversion.
It was a wet slog to start with, with more pushing that riding, but no one seemed to mind as the higher we climbed the more amazing the view became; a sea of white below and the Lakeland peaks in the sunshine beyond – absolutely stunning!
But it was onwards and upwards, stripping off layers as we go. Once onto Cross Fell we’re finally able to start riding and roll over the top and into the next valley. Now the fun starts with the rocky track past Greg’s hut (not a sausage-roll in sight either!) down towards Garrigill. Even with a few cheeky ups on the way down in less than an hour we’re outside the George & Dragon for a quick bite, all of us buzzing from the final eye-watering section.
After taking lunch alfresco in the sunshine we start the long road climb out towards Cow Green. [Missing out the off-road via Tyne Head was a good call as it was badly cut up from the off-roaders]. With a chat and an easy spin up it didn’t seem to take too long before we peel off the tarmac to follow the twisting double-track, Great Dunn station high on our right and Cow Green reservoir (all blue n sparkly for a change, rather than the normal grim and windswept) in front.
One up side of the heavy rain was that Caldron Snout waterfall was in good shape, thundering and swirling over the rocks and into the Tees below. Not much time to dally tho as we’ve still got the final push (literally) on the Pennine Way along Maize Beck........ which is the down side of all the heavy rain! Surprisingly tho once over the bridge the trail was fairly firm and rideable all the way along to High Cup. Where, spectacular as ever, we chill, chat, snack and take the customary photos that never, ever do the place justice.
It’s finally starting to cool off so we leave and pick our way along the technical path around the rim - thinking to myself that Im sure it wasn’t THIS rocky the last time........... A few dabs later, a bit of grunting and being extra careful not to step off to the left (its a long way down you kno!) we make it to the top of the final downhill – all 3 miles of it according to my GPS!
After a few minutes rest to take the view for the last time Mic’s off like a shot with me close behind, head cam running and bouncing off stuff while he’s looking smooth and in control......... the git! Chris comes past and they start going head to head [again] and the speed goes warp factor 9 - time for me to back off under the pretence of filming Paul and John methinks!
Unfortunately its all over more quickly than we’d like as we hit smooth tarmac. Mic and Chris have backed off to let us catch up and we cruise into Dufton very tired but all wearing some seriously big grins!
NO punctures, NO mechanicals and NO accidents! That’ll be another WOW then!
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