Route 72 Hadrians Cycle Way plus a few extra miles to get my train home.
You know I always have a plan. A plan A closely followed by a B, C and D. Always prepare for the unexpected and adapted to any fork in the road.
This Ride was an A Star ride. A golden nugget ride. A platinum ride.
Plan A. A simple pre prepared route following route 72 along Hadrians wall. From Newcastle to Bowness then south to Ravenglass. 170 ish miles. Follow the signs and all will be fine. Find somewhere to sleep when I’m tired, find a cafe when i’m hungry and have a brew whenever I want. Head inland and climb virgin ascents of HardNott and Wrynose, Ambleside, Kendal and a train home from Carnforth.
A 6am train from Keighley and a change at Leeds and by 8.15am I am on the banks of the River Tyne and following sign posts for Route 72. Hadrian’s Cycle Way. From east to west. Cycle paths and country lanes. Roman forts and walls. Visitors centres and tourist traffic. Rain clouds and sunshine. Bowness and the west coast by tea time and a hot Lasagna to fuel the engine. The wind on my back and flat coastal roads. A sunset to die for and a few moments on the dunes to soak up the view. Onwards to Whitehaven, St Bees and Sellafield.
The miles are clicking by but the lasagna is wearing off. An energy bar to stock the burner and the last push to Ravensglass. A quiet little village put to bed. A lone cyclist cruising the high street to find a place to sleep. The drizzle and wind keeping me from a night on the beach but a shelter at the train station keeps me dry and warm. Night night all. A grand day in the saddle.
A techno tune to wake me from the iPhone. A quick pack and onwards we go. Bike and rider together again. A crisp morning awakens the sleepy eyes and lactic legs work through the introductions. My virgin ascents of Hardknotts and Wrynose lays before me. Their reputation intrigues me and their gradient entices me. A spot of breakfast in the warming sunshine and a coffee to concentrate he mind. Onwards again and soon I start the tortuous climb.
Up the down. Across a bit the up and down again. Sounds simple but those who know KNOW.
A brief stop for more fuel and I’m off towards tourist hell which is a busy Ambleside and Windermere. Across and down a bit to Kendal and a greasy hamburger lunch at Mr M’s house. A meandering ride to Carnforth train station and my ride back home.
It’s all Enduro. It’s the in thing.
My first Enduro race. A leisurely cross country ride interrupted by 4 timed sections.
Old faithful was drawn from the stable and given a make over. Forks serviced and lubricated. Air pressure reduced a tad and the rebound on full. Tubeless tyres unseated, cleaned and fresh latex solution added. I even put a fresh Maxxis Crossmark on the back for that bit of extra grip. Jade and I arrived at Gisburn Forest on Saturday night and we camped in the field. A dusk stroll in the woods and a spot of photography for Stellas school art project. A good nights sleep helped by a few bottles of local ale and a hearty breakfast of eggs and mushrooms. Time to collect my number and electronic chip and a practice lap to acclimatise to what awaits.
I joined 9 others for our 2pm start time and we headed off on our lap.
Time to put your balls on show. Throw away those brakes. Chug that 4th Red Bull and go baby GO GO GO. Sprint and corner. Apex and pump. Suck up the lip and hit the back slop. Trust the tyres and thank Mr Rock Shox. Repeat 4 times.
Back at HQ and the chip uploads your results onto the monitor. Eager competitors search for their results. Some left elated but others left deflated. I’m a happy chap. 7th out of 64 in my 40+ category, 2nd in the Hardtail category and 39th out of 300 riders. My 1st Enduro was a success, now I’m off to buy that Enduro bike and some goggles 🙂