Sitting in the van eating sushi hidden in a layby with Ali. Many of my favorite weekends start this way. Ali wanted to get some Lakeland climbs in. The Fred Whitton is getting closer and I’m always keen to go and ride up big climbs. So off we set.
Its also a great way to see what the GF-Ti does with some real hills. I’ve finally got the Q-rings tuned, tricky little blighters! Mechanics are not my strongest point but its forcing me to learn more, which can only be a good thing with some really long rides planned for this year.
I’d plotted us a route taking in a few of the climbs that feature in the Fred Whitton. We got a great rolling start down from Thirlmere, I stamped on the pedals and off it whooshed, grinning from ear to ear. It even smelt like it was going to be a good day! First climb was Kirkstone, Ali didn’t believe me when I’d told her it was the easy side but before we knew it we were flying down off the top through Patterdale, over Troutbeck. Avoiding as much of the A66 as possible, getting bullied by big trucks is never fun.
Tea was calling….ok so, really it was a non-hedgerow toilet….a quick stop at The Lakeland Pedaller in Keswick. Its such a cute cafe with a handy bike shop upstairs. Cycling memorabilia litters the walls.
Knowing we still hadn’t really started yet it was time for the off. As you roll down out of Keswick and into the Borrowdale valley the beauty of the Lakes really begins to unfold. I found myself wanting to run in the mountains too, remembering some of my favourite fell races, wanting to join the two together again….I looked across at the water, nope, still too cold to think about triathlons…yet!
Now some might say that doing Honister once was enough, but the only way the loop looked fun was to do it from both sides taking in Newlands and Whinlatter passes on the way. There’s nothing quite like the lakes for vomit inducing climbs. I wanted to know how the GF-Ti would handle them, would I notice the Q-rings? To be honset I’m not sure. All I can say is it cruises up the hills beautifully. I’m sure I remained seated far longer. I don’t think I felt as tired and my legs feel fine today….who knows?
I guess I ought to add that that its quite unusual for me to have the correct gear ratio’s for the lakes….but I think I’ve finally cracked it!
A friend from Twitter had joined us at the top of Honister and it was great to catch up. Ali had been quite worried about running out of puff but was stomping along. Sometimes you just get a ride that makes you smile, today was one of those days. The sun was fluttering in and out of the clouds, even the wind seemed in our favour.
Honister was upon us again, the bike danced up beneath me. We waited at the top for Ali to crest the summit, cheering her as she climbed. She was grinning and whooping before whooshing down toward Borrowdale again.
I think we deserved the steak last night!