High Street, Cumbria
This post starts with a lesson, one I should heed myself. When riding in the lakes its advisable to check the likely elevation climbed in the ride. Such a stunning place to ride but hell its hilly and those hills tend to be extremely steep. At least the ones my riding buddy Gaz likes to ride are more of wall with a slight gradient than an hill or so at least they feel.
So after a few months without a mountain bike ride or tackling anything to steep I really should have checked first before confirming my attendance of what was sold to me as one of the Lakes classics.
So early on a late September Saturday morning I met up with Gaz (Blackburn), manf (burnley) and Glynn from Sheffield at the Star Inn, Pooley Bridge, and after the usual faffing we set off on our ride.
As is normally the case the ride started by gaining some height and quite quickly to a point above lake Ullswater they call the cockpit. From there we flew down the fast descent that runs above Ullswater. This is mainly without anything to technical so speed is easily gained and held along the roller coaster like trail.
Once at the end of this there's a photo opportunity to look back up ullswater before setting off to ride the techy shoreline trail towards Glenriding. This stretch is more of tech fest with a saw like profile with some nasty drops down Rocky steps and almost impossible to climb sections of the same gnarly rockiness. This is more of strength sapping up and down technical battle than it is a descent but nether the less it is fun and rewarding when finished.
Then its to Glenriding by road, turning off for the bridle way that leads one way to Bause hill or right in our case up to join High Street. Id never ridden this bit before so had no idea what was in store. I should have known that the clues in the name and some height would have to be gained to get there, but nothing prepared me for the savage steepness of the drag up. All of us especially Manf and Gaz are decent climbers however we had to dismount and push many times on our way up past the water treatment centre. after that once we got to the beautiful little reservoir which the names escapes me there was no option but to carry.
By Carry I mean full on hike a bike, clambering up an hill that felt like a good 35/40% gradient for what felt like a mile or so. Taking a rest half way up as a break to the pressure building in the calves and glutes. Finally we reached a point that we could hop back on the bikes which despite the steepness still came as a relief.
The views from up there were fantastic, even if cloud obscured much of it. The High street trail itself taking a route along the ridge line back across towards our starting point high above Pooley bridge was a bit soft in places which made heavy going when the trail pointed upward. The final sections though were good fun and the last blast at warp speed back down to the cockpit was a bone rattling lighting ride that reached crazy speeds and when it finally levelled out had us whooping with delight. If it wasn't for the horrendous climb back up we may have been tempted to do it again.
We blasted back down the final drop to Pooley Bridge as we cruised the roads back we were already reminiscing over what had been a really great ride. Made by the fabulous company and the pain of the climbs which are rewarded with views of the stunning scenery and the fantastic final descents
True to Gaz's form the ride ended at a modest 26 miles but 4659ft of climbing. Sunday morning made for sore legs
If you never ridden in the Lake District its a must do, if you've never visited there then you really are missing something special.