Helvellyn for my birthday
My birthday happened to fall on a Sunday this year so I put a ride up Helvellyn in the programme and then crossed my fingers for the weather. The gods smiled on me and a week of fine, sunny days coincided with the ride so we were good to go. Ten of us met up in Glenridding (Neil R, Mark, Liz, Mike, Simon, JB, Rob, Ian, Alan and me) and geared up ready for the long climb to the summit. We biked up to the old mines and then continued riding (just about) to the zig zags up Kepple Cove. Most of us then started pushing but certain strong legged people managed to bike nearly all the way up to the col below Whiteside. Alan was wearing one of his fetching green ensembles and a mountain biker hooning down off Whiteside towards us managed to find time to say "Damn, you are enduro" before disappearing from sight (his mates were having difficulty keeping up and looked perilously close to disaster). Eventually we all managed the very steep push/carry up Low Man and had our picnic on the top admiring the spectacular views in all directions - truly a glorious day.
Mark was somewhat nervous about descending Low Man after his head-butting-the-ground accident earlier on in the summer. The ridge seems very exposed when you are perched on top of a bike heading steeply downhill, but he (and everybody else) was fine and everybody (I think!) enjoyed the challenge and exposure. We then pushed up onto Whiteside, zoomed down and then plodded up Raise and realised Neil had got left behind. Mike headed back to find him and eventually they both reappeared but Neil still had a hole in his tubeless tyre - after fifteen minutes of faffing we found and plugged the hole and we were on our way again. The best bit of the route is the descent from Sticks Pass. Lovely singletrack with plenty of technical rocky bits for amusement and then a zig zag section consisting of baby-heads and drop-offs. A final romp down the double track and we were down at the cafe celebrating with cake after a fantastic day out. One of my best birthdays ever so thanks to everyone for joining me in the sun!