Pass Storming is all about carrying your bike up the biggest hill you can find and riding off the top using the most bonkers way down. Recently I went back to Rossett Ghyll in the Lakes after having first ridden it with friends in February for a Singletrack magazine feature. As Benji pointed out in the article big forks, tyres and brakes make such a ride possible. Last time I rode the Ibis Mojo, but this is a pile of bits at the moment while it’s fork is being used elsewhere. This time I took Chipps’ long term Orange Blood which was a perfect choice. Very capable downhill and not too heavy to push, even with dual ply tyres, at around 34lbs.
After four hours of riding and pushing up Langdale and Stake Pass, Jim, Gary and myself stood at the top of the pass. It’s a VERY technical descent and as we put full face helmets and knee pads on we were pretty quiet. I had just spent the last four hours in a state of mounting anxiety about the ride to come.
As soon as you kick off down the gullies, steps and loose rock chutes fear is replaced by attention, adrenaline and good old fashioned whoop-de-whoop. The rocks were hard on the two Patriots though and within a few minutes Gary’s bike had a bent mech hanger and a broken spoke and Jim’s bike had a snapped gear cable and smashed rear mech. Lucky for me I hadn’t smashed the carbon XO rear mech (in pink) on Chipps’ bike. 40 minutes of bodging and we were rolling again although Jim had to ride chainless as singlespeeding his bike was not possible because of chain growth under suspension compression! Rather him than me.
You get a descent of around 45 minutes and it’s worth every bit of the effort to get to the top. Tight, steep and a bit exposed, the way down is pretty much all on steps and you have to concentrate hard as there are plenty of bits to catch you and put you over the bars.
We rode it all and were pretty pleased to be still alive at the bottom. Feeling like righteous Pass Stormtroopers we called in at The Dungeon Ghyll Inn for a celebratory pint.