The Perfect Ride

So in the recent heat haze managed to get out up into the Dales and head for my favourite ride.  Now I’ve done this ride a few times before and a couple of things always happen 1) at some point of the ride, usually the most exposed section on the tops it hails, sleets and blows a gail 2) we get lost on the top unable to find the route down 3) I fail to ride the open sided slate bridges over the rivers.  As we set off early both of us were unclear which we route we were going to take but realising the glorious weather we’d be having both of us were keen to see if we could crack the route.

I’ve mentioned previously that I have real problems riding anything that’s raised up off the ground and know that at some point I really want to crack these bridges and having ridden one up in the incredible ride in the Cheviots I was slightly more optimistic this time round.  The snag as always was going to be getting onto the bridges as, for me, there is a significant step up that I’m not good at bouncing my wheel up.  This means that I can’t hit the bridge at any speed so am often starting from a standing start and wobbling precariously towards the edge.  It was clearly going to be a warm one as it was around 70 degrees in the car park at 8.45am and I congratulated myself on remembering to bring the suncream and as we set off up the first steep rocky climb things felt good and I climbed it without problem (something that I often struggle with).  Luckily my camelback had developed a significant drip that was leaking water down my front which after the initial annoyance kept me beautifully cool but with the thought in my head that I might run out of water which would not be good.

As we approached the first bridge my mate wheelied up and onto it beautifully and whizzed across, I of course bottled it and decided to take the water route through (above) which looked incredibly inviting.  Gorgeous single track then brought us out into the tiny hamlet of Feizor with a lovely little coffee shop/ cafe.  I pondered the economics of this place as it is basically on a road to nowhere in a very quite place that can only cater for cyclists and walkers.  Is there enough to keep them going ?  I certainly hope so and we stopped for an excellent early morning coffee.

Fuelled and more suncream applied we were up onto the second steep climb which brings you out onto fantastic views of Pen Y Ghent

After swooping down off here there is a very short road section to catch your breath and get some water in before a fantastic section of single track that swoops along before you get to the next bridge.  The tracks were fast, flowing and firm after all the hot weather and made for fantastic riding.

As I’m riding this, part of my brain is aware of the next bridge coming up and whether I can finally manage to ride one.  In the photo below I’m sure it looks easy to many people particularly as it looks as though you can ride straight onto it, which you could if you were going the other way.  Unfortunately again from the direction I’m going you have to hop quite a bit to get up onto it so if you get your line wrong you are in the drink.  I couldn’t hop it but I did finally ride it from a standing start !  Go me !

Next step is to somehow ride both of these straight through including somehow getting up onto them.  Small steps but I’m getting there.  From here it is a fairly hefty slog up to the high point of the ride which incredibly we managed to so without getting lost and the view from the top cannot really be done justice but what a place.

The drop down from here is an incredible run until you hit the rocks, which I always struggle with but today I seemed to be riding so well I managed to pick my way through all of them clipped in with no dab downs, something I’ve never managed before.  It’s difficult to describe the high that we were both feeling through this ride grinning from ear to ear with the euphoria of it all, the route and riding, friendships, sunshine all coming together in a perfect moment.  The final part of the descent has the below warning on it (with the ominous helmet peak) which I take seriously having heard of someone who had to be airlifted off it having had their handlebars go through their rib cage.  Steady as she goes had us safely back in the car park and enjoying the fruits of our labours both agreeing that it was simply the best ride we had done.  We’re sure to ride up there again in a few months so anyone who fancies riding it with us next time let me know.