Tuesday, 24 May 2011


Did the Lakes Epic thing at the weekend with my mate Davey and it turned out to be mildly epic in a mellow sort of way. Took Rags the psychotic Ragley Ti to save some weight and add some interest and never once regretted it, well, maybe when I was pushing a 2.5 Minion DHF into a headwind, uphill, on tarmac, for ages, on day two, but off road and particularly on the technical stuff, it properly rocked...

Anyway, a sort of loop around the bottom of Skiddaw then down, via Threlkeld to Thirlmere and over Sticks Pass. Not ridden that before. Mostly the climb was a steep carry come push come short bits of granny ring spinning, but worth it for the descent into Glenridding, which was lovey and thought provoking at the same time.

And it got us down to Ullswater for a stormingly, lovely, traverse of the amazing lakeside singletrack - properly ace. Rode loads of stuff clean that I often faff up thanks to the Ragley's poise, whoomph and bright-eyed, big-grin, psychotic ti-grained soul. Got to the end of it and looked round for the folk who'd been with us at the start and they'd just gone.

Sticks Pass from the Thirlmere side - push or carry, your choice...
I'd been kind of worried that the Ragley wouldn't be able to keep with suspension bikes on the more teccy stuff, but the reality was that it handled everything brilliantly, even the fast bits. It really is something else, just over 25lb with a 2.5 Minion DHF on the front and a 150mm Revelation. The front end just feels incredibly planted, the bike oozes va-va-voom and despite the lightness, it never feels remotely fragile or vague or out of its depth.

Hike-a-bike two in the background, track on RH side aiming for that obvious notch.
 There was an amusing post on the STW forum that compared it to a shag-happy nubile, but for me it's more like one of those lightly-muscled folk who look perfectly normal till the shirt comes off and you realise they're all stripped-down, 100% functional, honed power and poise. Good enough to show a clean pair of heels to a Specialized Pitch on nadgery rockery, light enough to climb hard tec and way better than me. Anyway, I love the thing to bits and Brant for designing it in the first place.

All that and it'll handle 60-mile days in the Peak or Lakes too.

Anyway... one more hike-a-bike and some lovely flowing stuff down to the overnight camp at Pooley Bridge, we came in 12th and 13th, so that was okay, but to be honest, it was just great spending a day with a mate, chatting with a bunch of nice folk, riding some lovely trails and being grateful that the rain held off until we'd finished.

Oooops, pitched side on to a serious freak gust - bang, snap, drama...
 Tent pole snapped overnight in the wind. We decamped to a spare Macpac Minaret, slept, ate, and eased into a pretty wet and windy day two. Lots of road, lots of headwinds and a truncated route, but still good to be out.
One slightly bedraggled Davey at the finish of day two - hard on the
Keswick Mountain Festival which looked equally soggy...
 I've run out of words now, but a cracking weekend

Can we go now?


  1. That sounds like an ace weekend.

  2. It was really good fun, the Saturday was awesome - liked the Sticks descent to Glenridding and the Ullswater track plus some of the stuff above Pooley Bridge was just laugh out loud fast and grassy lunacy. Made me want to go back and ride all sorts of other stuff in the Lakes I've not done for ages - Borrowdale Bash, High Street, Garburn, Back of Skiddaw and more :-)

  3. In fact I've never ridden Helvellyn, though I've done it on foot millions of times.