If mountain bikers did stag weekends…
…I bet even if they tried they’d struggle to have a better time than I did on mine over the bank holiday weekend.
Setting off with my buddy and full weekend pass holder James in tow we headed north from Bristol via an overnight stop and massive food stock up/carb load at my parents in Lancashire to our destination for the weekend. The Bury Hostel at the foot of Helvellyn, just up from Glenridding on Ullswater. As a former Bury resident we were able to book the place for a discount which coupled with the beer supply from Wylam Brewery on bulk via my mate Scott, made for a bargainous weekend of frivolities and biking.
Myself and James headed out for a figure of 8 ride around Kentmere which although windy on top was rewarded by a mega rock fest back down to the village. I was on my Trek 29er and was feeling a little shaken up but it always amazes me how stable that thing is on the downs despite being a ‘race’ bike. Having recently changed to some USE wide bars, my arms weren’t as pumped as expected which was good news. James on the other hand must have felt like he had held on to a pneumatic drill on each arm and leg on his rigid Frankenstein 29er on front, 26er out back rigid On-one!
Back to the ranch and a quick recharge and arrival of other stag party members led to a quick up and down behind the hostel on the path up to Helvellyn. Then followed a typical (I’m told) friday quiet stag weekend opener with two boxes of beer nailed and various other liquids consumed. A 4am finish for some! Banter, beer and biking off to a flyer.
Some weary heads emerged the next morning, not least from those on full A+ rated weekend passes. However, much to my massive surprise we all managed to get out a mere 30mins later than scheduled departure time! The faffometer was running low, perhaps my years of intolerance and winging have finally paid off :)!
A group 17 strong set out from Glenridding with an epic up and over in store. Given that some of the lads hadn’t done much mountain biking before and certainly nothing that required carrying a bike up and down sections, we made good progress and sweated out the beer at the top of the first climb. Beer doesn’t quite taste quite the same when licked from your lips the day after.
The first descent started with ‘the qualifier’, a super technical loose rock garden that most carried down, some tried (and failed) to ride it apart from James the legend who smashed through it with an insane high line entry. I guess his 7inch Comencal must have felt like a sofa compared with his rigid from the day before. The boys on the awful Baracuda hire bikes certainly got literally the rough end of the deal. Fair play to then for riding a fair amount though.
Fortunately for the non bikers the trail mellowed and everyone did some riding and enjoyed it. We then split at Pooley bridge with some heading for the pub and then the steamer back to Glenridding whilst the others headed up to in to the hills again and eventually carried on along the Ullswater Singletrack which claimed a major bike demolishment, this from Gaz the day and night after…
‘for sale: titus el guapo, now defunct 26inch wheel version, some minor cosmetic damage as follows: terminal pivot failure/bent back end, tyre worn into stay, no mech hanger, mech or chain, bent rear axle, bent rear qr, gritty and loose headset, front mech doesnt shift unless you have thumbs like popeye, scratched reverb seatpost, reverb contains lots of air and is squidgy, slight wobble to front wheel, major wobble to rear. missing one spoke. worn out chainrings and cassette. gritty hub bearings, torn saddle. mismatched brakes front xt rear slx. 3000miles on the clock, 6 strava KOM’s without even trying and ENDURO SPECIFIC orange colour. swap for liver transplant’
Saturday night, well pictures say more than words…too many ridiculous things happened to mention but it was carnage.
Sunday was spent chilling out and refuelling with burgers and an early night so we could beat the crowds to the top of hellvelyn on the Bank Holiday. As it turned out we needn’t have worried about the crowds as it was raining and in cloud most of the way up which made the descent even more tricky. Of course by the time we got to the bottom it was glorious sunshine so an ice cream was bang on before departing the lakes.
What a brilliant weekend. Thanks to everyone involved. I don’t even feel that bad that months of training has been wiped out in a single beer fuelled hit as it was totally worth it!