Path: Home | 27th April 2014 : Lakeland Loop

Sam, Arthur, Phil

Lakeland Loop: Destination

A dry forecast was a relief for the mountains we had in store today. The lakes is a stunning place to cycle and today myself, Sam, Lee & Phil were undertaking the Lakeland loop sportive. Louise was taking part also with her boyfriend although making contact was impossible with no network coverage.

We set off over an early climb with an immediate mechanical for Lee slipping gears due to a loose cable but we were soon dropping groups who were waiting on our wheels. Whinlatter being the first biggie was cruised over on fresh legs and we kinda made a silent pact that nobody was going past us today. A large group of 'Racing Rock' riders whooped past us making lots of noise and shouting etc. We waited for the next rise knowing they'd be all over the road to overtake and drop them.

First feed station came early but we took advantage of what was on offer and relaxed for a bit. Now sunny and a stunning view over Cold Fell as the field started to spread. Taking turns on the front we eased our way past early groups to the second feed station. It was here we really decided to chill as we knew the sting in the tail was upon us with the monstrous Hardknott and Wrynose passes. Cake, flapjacks coffee etc was consumed to calm nerves.

Pace was eased and legs spun loosely as the daylight began to be blocked by the rock ahead. 'Is there a way around this?' 'can we go another way?' were among other choice comments as we saw the snake of riders walking, some riding up into the sky. Climb begins at telephone box for those who know this well it's down to bottom gear almost from the start and then staying that way as long as the legs and lungs can still turn the pedals around. There are no flat bits on this steep steep climb most of the battle is keeping your front wheel on the ground and stopping you back wheel from spinning depending if you were in or out of the saddle respectively. Whilst still trying to muscle the pedals around.

Phil lead the way and we shouted encouragement as he took on the 33 & a 1/3 part. I managed this as well which broke my previous distance attempt on this mountain with Sam closely on my wheel. It was here Lee had to stop and Sam did a wheely to get around him. The big problem with doing this on a sportive is having so many other riders walking with bikes blocking your way. Just as important as finding the right line to avoid gravel, tarmac lumps and generally poor surface.

At one point I had to shout at 2 riders (walkers) to please get out of the way (actually in them exact words despite tempation to turn the air blue). They sensibly then took to the side to let us past


It was here I saw Phil picking himself up off the ground. As our strongest climber it was both a surprise and a warning. I dug deep thinking I'd cracked this at last, at the same moment my rear wheel spun so fast it dropped my right foot to the floor so quickly I tilted into a fall, luckily on the grass but a rock in my ribs caused a bit of bruising which is sore as I write. Sam rode past with both Phil and I shouting words of encouragement. He made it all the way to the top, good lad, a great ride and a climb to his blossoming palmares.

The photo is the final little lump after we descended Wrynose.