Pass Storming Trip to Rossett Ghyll

Looking down Langdale from Rossett Ghyll

Looking down Langdale from Rossett Ghyll

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.

Blood in pink next to Jim's Patriot

Blood in pink next to Jim's Patriot

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.

Oh dear

Oh dear

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.

We'd ridden from the pointy bit

We'd ridden from the pointy bit

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.

Hit the commit button

Hit the commit button

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.

Mountain Biking Breaks in Hebden Bridge

photo by Benji Haworth of Rodwell singletrack looking to Stoodley Pike on the horizon

Great Rock is offering a days guided riding and/or skills coaching as part of a two night accommodation package with Croft Mill apartments. The four star self catering apartments are part of a high quality modern mill development located in the centre of Hebden Bridge, with all the cafes, restaurants and shops nearby.

The day’s riding will be led by Ed Oxley, Hebden Bridge’s local mountain bike guide, and can include skills coaching, as well as guiding, on the renowned and all weather trails of the upper Calder Valley. This will be a day tailored to suit the group and can be made suitable for experienced riders wanting a taste of the technical riding of the area or beginners for whom the more melow trails are more suitable. The choice is yours.

All rides start, break for lunch and end in Hebden Bridge so there will be ample time for visiting cafes for well earned refreshment.

Click this link for more details

Embracing the Filth

The trails are wet and I’m loving it. It’s a chance to develop and use a whole range of different skills to those we use for drier summer riding. Get some decent tyres on your bike, stay loose, easy on the brakes (especially the front) and let the bike move around – it’s what it was designed to do! Wrap yourself up in good quality clothing and get out there. There’s nothing like the feeling as you come in after a great filth ride with a big grin on your face.

I’m running skills days through the autumn and winter in Hebden Bridge, Gisburn Forest and Lee Quarry. Keep checking on the site or on my Twitter for details.

Pass Storming in the Lakes

I got properly high on a night ride earlier this week in the Lakes. Here’s the Cotic BFe with HammerSchmidt gearbox cranks and Fox 36 Talas forks, that I was riding, sat up on the top of Red Screes. After carrying the bikes for 35 minutes from the Kirkstone Pass we were rewarded with amazing views of the Lakeland fells, over to the Yorkshire Dales and out to sea and all at 7.40pm. We could even see Blackpool Tower.

Here’s Nicola looking for our way down. And it was a good one. 45 minutes of descent with some very tech slabs, switchbacks and rock garden sections as well as some great fast singletrack and rocky track.

Pints in the Golden Rule in Ambleside made it into one of those unforgettable rides, especially as we didn’t ride uphill at all. Instead we used two vehicles in an uplift shuffle. This ride was all about the down. After five weeks work guiding in the Lakes it was great to have a sweet ride with Nicola and Craig my guiding collegues and friends which was a ride just for us.

Back to reality now and planning lots of skills days and group days in Hebden Bridge and up at Lee Quarry.

Guiding in the Lakes

I’ve been guiding groups around the Hawkshead area over the last week on the great trails of Grizedale Forest, Claife Heights and the edge of Windermere. Here’s a view up Windermere from the Hawkshead ferry landing. This is also the site of Julie’s ice cream caravan of delights. Julie likes when we bring groups in and shows her appreciation by sending out a free cone 🙂

I’ve mostly been riding the Spooky Horror Taxi, which as you may be able to see has 650b wheels. This bike will be reviewed in the next issue of Singletrack Mountain Bike Magazine. It’s a great riding bike but the lack of available tyres to fit limits it appeal for me. The Pacenti Neo-Moto tyres fitted were not up to Lake District riding, especially in the rain on wet slate!

I tried the 650b wheels on my Ragley Ti and they fit just fine with plenty of clearance around the stays and seat tube. I’ll be sticking with 26″ wheels though, thank you very much, and my current build with Maxxis tyres – 2.4 Ardent on the front and 2.25 Advantage on the rear.

It was “quite” steep at the Kidland DH race

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Just found these photos of me from the race. Photos by dickyelsdon from Flickr.

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It was also bloody tight through the trees!