Tuesday, 9 July 2019

JennRide 2019

Back to the Lakes and rolling in to the car park and the first four people we see we know. It's that kind of event. Tent up and it's off to Wheelbase to listen to a variety of short lectures ranging from bovine avoiding Highland Trails to windswept Asian plains.

Up early, well this is the Lakes in summer, breakfast in More then a bit of hanging around until around 9am we decide not to wait for the Grand Départ and set off. Familiar lanes lead to the top of a descent I've not done before, a bit blind and rocky and quite narrow, not one to be in a big pack descending really. Minor lanes lead to the ferry crossing on Windermere. We've just missed one sailing so by the time the ferry is back on our side pretty well everyone from the GD has arrived.

Rather a lot of cyclists on the ferry.

Once across I'm riding alongside Tony who's on an ebike and fairly shifting! He's only out for a short spin with his wife so after a couple of km he stops and waits for her. A check to see if Cath's OK before the climb over Claife Heights then I push on.

The first technical climb and I almost make it without dabbing, Stu Rider gets passed me and cleans it so now I've a target to keep up with. The descent past Wise E'en Tarn is fast, I don't realise how fast until I get home to discover I'm in the top ten on Strava! That never happens on a descent for me.

Riding round to the next bit of off-road I'm chatting to Alan Goldsmith about my bike and I make the stupid comment that I've finally got it dialled for climbing. "Now's your chance! This next one's tricky". And so it proved, I'd not done it before but got within a few bike lengths of the end of the difficulties. Annoyingly Alan got to within one.

A rocky descent into Grizedale before climbing up on The North Face trail and over towards Parkamoor.


A quick stop for something to eat and then on to one of the main descents of the route. This went well until about halfway down when I got the wrong line, stopped then as I tried to get going again went over the bars! Landing on bedrock hurts! Then I noticed something flapping on the bike - turns out the bolt holding my shifter to the brake had chosen that moment to disappear. A zip tie and a bit of tape from Mark (the chap in the shot above) and I was good to carry on.

Easy riding led to Torver and the deli at The Wilson Arms. Pete McNeil offered a bolt to fix my shifter but it was slightly too short. In the end Alan Goldsmith came to the rescue with a slightly longer one - "that'll be a DQ then" he remarked.

Up and over Torver Common, past Stephenson Ground and another rocky descent down to The Newfield Inn. Time for refreshments.






A couple of pints later and I was ready to go. Now the JennRide has a short option and a long option and the Newfield was the turning point for the short route. But it was only 3:45pm so way too early to start heading back. However I didn't really want to go over to Wasdale so decided to do a medium option of my own: Road up on to Ulpha Fell then cut right and take bridleways down to Boot then another BW along the valley floor to by the Woolpack Inn. Sorted!

By the time I got to my turn off the official route Stu Rider had caught me up again. The BW down the hillside was great, not technical but just nice fun. The one along the valley floor was a little different having been subject to some recent bulldozing in places to make it passable for farm vehicles.



There was a music festival on at The Woolpack so no stopping. On to the climb back over to Dunnerdale. This is basically a push for half an hour or so. As I reached the top of the steepest section I got a text from Cath - she was doing the same as me but using the roads in the valley as she didn't know the BWs. On the final track before the Wallowbarrow Descent I started with cramps which was a little annoying.

I got back to the Newfield three hours after leaving so time to grab something to eat. Tony Craig was there having come off on the rocky descent down to the pub - he'd end up getting a (expensive) taxi back to Staveley. I spent nearly two hours in the pub! There was no rush I was going to bivy on the Coniston side of Walna Scar so only had to get there by dark.

Chatting to one of the other riders it turned out that we'd both worked for the same building firm in Kendal many years ago so there was a bit of "what's X doing now?". He chose to set off with me and head up Walna Scar.

It looked like my timing was right, there were long shadows on the push up the bottom section.


My companion dropped back then another rider appeared and caught me up at the midway gate. We walked together up the next bit, my cramp preventing me from attempting to ride any of it. Finally at the summit we were treated to a great sunset.



It was a bit chilly on top, time to head down. I managed to ride more of it than the last times I've ridden it but I was still a bit shaken by my fall earlier in the day so walked a couple of sections of about 50 metres. Then it was just a blast down to the easier track.

There were plenty of people bivvying out but I thought I'd better find somewhere that Cath could find me. I ended up just on from Boo Tarn (more of a reedy swamp these days) and texted her to let her know. She arrived about an hour later having missed me in the pub by about fifteen minutes.


The morning turned out grey so we didn't get the matching sunrise. Ah well. A quick butty from the filling station in Coniston then it was time to start heading back to Ambleside.

There were a few bridleways in here that I'd not done before. The one below is a fairly steep lane leading up from Yew Tree Farm.


Round past Tarn Hows then another new to me descent towards the Drunken Duck. I'd done the bottom bit the other way some time ago but the main part of the descent was new. The last new to me bit was a bridleway from Outgate towards Brathay then it was familiar territory into town and breakfast.



All that was left was up and over Jenkin's Crag and the bottom bit of Garburn Pass (which has been pitched with stone since I last rode it, definitely much easier to try and climb now). Round by High Borrans where Rich the organiser and another rider caught us up which meant that we could sort ourselves out and take turns to open gates.


Then just the Three Rivers descent and back into Staveley in time for lunch.

All in all a good weekend even if I'm still somewhat battered and bruised from my low speed, as in 0 kmh, over the bars incident.

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