Whew. What a day. Ride no. 19 was a bit of a gong show, as it included a hike-a-bike up one of England’s highest mountains, a slight mechanical failure at the top, and a rip roaring ride down.
I had planned to ride/hike up the easy Bridleway route up the side of Skiddaw that faces Keswick, and then to ride down the Ullock Pike footpath descent. I thought today would be a perfect day for it as the trails would be mostly dry, it was gloriously warm and sunny for winter, and there wasn’t many folks about.
Climbing up was straightforward enough… more of a push than a ride as I’m not as fit as when I did this before (aka mid-summer!). I didn’t plan for it to be so warm climbing up (it is the tail-end of a pretty cold winter, after all), and brought a ridiculous amount of clothing. I was peeling off layers left, right, and centre, and ended up in not much more than a t-shirt and lycra shorts. Mmmm, felt like summer!
Made it to the top (yay!) in plenty of time to get down the Ullock Pike trail. It’s a descent I’ve never done before (biking or hiking), and was really keen to do on my mountain bike. People have mountain biked down most of it before, but I’ve heard it’s techy and fairly exposed … ie. don’t fall or you might just tumble a couple thousand feet to the valley floor! So when I started descending off of the summitt of Skiddaw and my front brakes were giving me trouble, I thought that maybe the Ullock Pike descent wasn’t the best of ideas.
I started to descend and use my brakes a little more and they did eventually come back to full power. In hindsight (and upon consultation with my bike-mechanic partner), the brakes were usable and safe, they just had a wee air bubble in them that needed to be ‘pumped through’ to regain full power. On top of a big hill though, I didn’t know this at the time, and thought that it would be daft to attempt an exposed trail with no front brakes! I’ll just have to hike my arse back up there again on another dry day to conquer Ullock.
Was a brilliant day out though – I’m gonna be a sore bunny tomorrow. 🙂