18/11/2019 - Cotic CC Ride - Grizedale Forest

Cotic CC Ride Grizedale

Cotic Owner's Ride

Last Sunday myself and Paul held a Cotic CC ride in the beautiful Lake District. After several days of very wet weather in Sheffield and the Peaks, stoke was beginning to run low. It's not often you go to Cumbria in November to escape the bad weather, but clearly they hadn't experienced the same constant downpours that we'd be getting recently. Of course, it's never truly dry in the Lakes, so we layered up with waterproofs to keep the chilly stream crossings and puddles at bay.

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Despite a dismal looking start to the day, we congregated in Hawkshead and set out up the fairly sharp climb into Grizedale Forest, snaking out of the village and quickly hitting the rocky, leaf strewn bridleway. It's a mean start to a ride this one, heart rates hit the roof pretty quickly, but height is gained equally fast. Layers came off, and we picked up the waymarkers for the North Face trail and began descending in a cafe direction. Drama soon ensued however, it was my turn for a mechanical issue. The pedal insert in my crank had come unstuck, and my pedal was wobbling around in the crank like a stick in a bucket. I nursed it to the bike shop, Grizedale Mountain Bikes, in search of a solution. Huge thanks to them for slinging my bike in the pick-up and shuttling me back to Hawkshead so I could grab a demo bike, genuinely saved the day! With everyone refreshed in the cafe, and me set up on the rad new Bfe, we began the next climb.

I really enjoy the trail centre climb here, its never too steep, but is packed full of technical challenges to keep you distracted from the pedalling. Some fire road and more singletrack climbing took us out onto Parkamoor, with big views over Coniston Water, The Old Man and Dow Crag. Not the clearest day, but stunning none the less. The ride started to get wet from this point, after the fast and loose descent, we began heading in the direction of the woods again, through hub deep puddles that seemed to be permanent features in these parts. No rain today, but shoes were full of water by this point!

Cotic Owner's - Cotic CC

The next descent is a stone cold classic. Known as the '3 Witches', or 'Dad, Grandad and The Dentist', it's a bridleway that crosses 2 fire roads, so is broken into 3 sections. The first is mostly singletrack, with a couple of rises, a few bits of line choice and some fast sections. All rocky, and with plenty of water splashes and loose moments. We just about got down in one piece, one crash which resulted in a damaged brake lever, but no injuries and the bike carried on. The second section is one of my favourite trails in the world. It's the shortest of the 3, but the fastest and most rowdy. A drop off into a fast left hand corner, followed by a flat out straight with lumps of bedrock and loose stones which you skate over at full chat. You can't help but grin at the bottom of a trail like this one. “That was why I got up at 5:30 this morning!” exclaimed Paul.

Reaching the bottom of the valley after the third section of trail, we had a winch ahead of us. Despite its amusing name, the 'Breasty Haw' climb quickly stopped us giggling. Steep tarmac leads to steep woodland track, with a crux move in the middle, a wet bedrock step. It might not have been pretty, but I just made it up without a dab for the first time, that new Bfe is quite something.

At the top of this climb it was decision time, we had the option of another descent, if we didn't mind another stiff climb back up. Despite all being wet through, the sun breaking through the clouds egged us on for a bit extra. It became clear immediately we'd made the right call, a sublime descent littered with blind lips, slabs and some hectic, alpine style hairpin bends. I was absolutely buzzing at the bottom of this trail, there's nothing like thrashing a hardtail down a fast descent, wheels rarely pointing the right direction and just about getting away with lines more suited to my RocketMAX. I wasn't the only one, grins were plastered over everyone's faces at the bottom of this trail, top fun.

We did have the extra climb to do before the final descent though, and it required some deep digging. Most of us walked the tricky first section and just the local lads cleaned it with maximum effort, kudos for that. The final trail was a well known one, called 'The Fox'. More axle deep puddles before a classic Lakes descent with more line choice than you knew what to do with. At this point I got a bit carried away, and put a hole in the rear tyre of the Bfe, which gave me a chance to use my Dynaplug for the first time. Until now, simply keeping it in my rucksack had somehow prevented punctures, but it fixed the hole in a heartbeat and I could finish the run and roll back to Hawkshead without mucking about with a tube. I can definitely recommend getting one.

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Big thanks to everyone who made it, we had a brilliant day out. The pace was sociable with plenty of chances to rest in between climbs and descents, and everyone enjoyed the day. Grizedale is one of my favourite areas to ride, and it was nice to do a decent size ride instead of the usual shorter demo laps. The next Cotic CC event is our evening at the Dirt Factory in Manchester, the UK's first indoor bike park, on Tuesday 3rd December. Get in touch quick to book a space, and keep an eye out for our annual 'Beat the Winter Blues' ride in the Peak District in January, we'll announce the date for this soon.

Sam.


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