Friday, 26 August 2011

Cycling over Kirkstone Pass

Looking north, towards Ullswater

For some time I had been looking forward to a really nice long bike ride while we were in Cumbria last week and I was not disappointed.

As luck would have it, with my family I negotiated my "bike day" and it turned out to be the best day in terms of the weather.  Pleasantly warm, just a very slight breeze and sunny, cloudy skies made it perfect.

I ascended from Ullswater, a steady climb which can be seen in the above photograph.  I was very pleased I had that 26T "Granny wheel" gear on the 1 in 4 steep part near the top!  It was nice keeping in a good pedalling rhythm and knowing there was one lower gear still further.  At the top there was a runner (followed by his dog!) but no other cyclists.  I remember having that satisfying feeling as I looked around, mostly enjoying those long distance views in the Windermere direction.

Descending was great fun but just too short!  I took the road to Windermere and the best bits were the corners which brought out the best in my bike's handling.  I could take those corners really fast and with complete confidence there would be no nasty surprises.  While my shades might look questionable, I needed them for keeping out flies and any other flying insects - I've had too many near misses following flies going into my eye at high speed.  When this happens it is very disconcerting!

This must count as one of my all-time great rides.  I'll map this out on Googlemaps sometime and put it on this post but in essence I did about 64+ miles that day with 3 big climbs, all using the 26T Granny gear at some point. I remember as I started to climb up out of Orton on the B6260 it was unexpectedly steep and I was feeling tired.  Momentarily I felt quite emotional almost expecting myself to declare I couldn't take anymore of this!  A second later and I was fine once again.

It was a demanding ride but so rewarding, uplifting and a wonderful memory to treasure.  I highly recommend it for a demanding ride with much variety in the surrounding landscape.


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