Sunday, 15 August 2010

High Street ride - Ullswater

This must have been one of the most physically demanding things I've ever done. We (Sam, Stuart Morgan and Martyn Earle) were staying at the Sykeside bunkhouse on the Friday night and began looking at the ordnance survey map. We knew it was going to tough for the first couple of kilometers as the contours were ridiculously close together, like a mass of pink worms. But when the Saturday morning came round and we started our way up the mountain it was impossible to ride; it was just too steep. You could begin to pedal but literally falling off backwards on the down stroke. So we were reduced to pushing our bikes up. We got to a little picturesque reservoir and weren't really expecting the next bit. We knew it was going to be steep, but this was taking the biscuit! It became easier to carry my bike on my shoulder and climb the mountain!
This was taken about half way up - you can just about see Ullswater in the background (I think it's Ullswater). I'm still enjoying it even though it is hard work!

The views were pretty spectacular all round. It's been such a long time since I had been to the Lakes, probably not since going to Howtown with school and I'd forgotten just how big the mountains are. We were pretty awe-struck driving around the lake. Nervous too!
A landscape view from half way up (using the stick-3-photos-together function on my phone)
So we eventually got to the top of the mountain (now nicknamed Mount Doom) which was something 2 kilometers in 3.5 hours. But now it was time to ride! And as we were at the top, it was "all downhill from here", which became the catchphrase of the ride. But it wasn't really, some more climbing, peaty bogs to navigate round and looking for trails in cloud-shrouded moors. The view riding along the top was pretty amazing though.

As we descended into Howtown we were expecting a much more relaxing ride around the serene sounding "Lakeside trail". How wrong we were. This was even more unrideable than before, with huge rocky sections that even pro riders would struggle with. Even people walking would struggle, let alone carry a bike around with them! Plus the weather had now turned really nasty on us and was lashing down. I think this photo just about captures the despairing mood we were all feeling by now:

Still, 7 hours and 47 minutes later we made it back to the car park. Knackered, aching (some crashes were had!) and soaked through.

I'd do it again, no problems.

Other photos from the ride can be found here.

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