Having hiked my bike in the Cairngorms and got back to a level of fitness I was happy with, I felt ready to return to the one place that I was longing to explore again. I headed to the Lakes.
I started by returning to trails I knew. Next I asked round bike shops for trail advice and gathered every bit of information I could find before setting off on natural trails that were new to me. I was incredibly lucky with the weather and I hardly experienced a day of rain. In fact I was craving it! It finally came on a day riding Grizedale’s bridleways, over 5 weeks into my trip. I stayed out as long as I could, waterproofs getting tested to their limit. I don’t like moaning about the weather, I will be the first out on the trails in a blizzard on Orkney. I just feel so lucky to be able to ride, to be able to do what I love! You soon forget it’s raining when riding anyway!
The rain was short lived and I was running out of excuses for avoiding two hike-a-bike routes I was itching to try. They were long natural trails, and I wasn’t sure what I was thinking tackling these solo for my first attempt, but the weather cleared and it was ideal for Nan Bield & Hellvelyn.
I had spent the last week or so building up to riding these. I had shocked myself riding Garburn decsent into Kentmere blind. Navigating was feeling good and my fitness was definitely exceeding my expectations. I was full of nerves and adrenalin. I first set foot on Nan hiking 3 years ago. I met 4 mountain bikers there and I knew this was a place that I wanted to ride. Every trail and even skills practice up until this point was probably subconsciously leading me back to Nan.
As always when I set off on a ride, my mind is full of thoughts. Since it was my first ride round Nan it was really full of them. However it didn’t take long before I was completely immersed in my surroundings, forgetting what I had even been thinking about. I hardly met anyone that day & the weather couldn’t have been better. Starting the hike, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face, true happiness, with adrenalin more than peaking when I reached the summit. My descent wasn’t the best that day, but nothing could ruin that day. It was the best.
It was such an amazing opportunity to learn and knowing that I was ahead of where I was the previous day was more than enough motivation for pushing my riding round Nan. I find it hard to describe, it just simply meant the world to me. That feeling that I can never find the words for is what continues to bring me back to these places, to continually explore and push myself. It’s what gets me out on my bike regardless of weather.
The next day I woke really early and headed for Hellvelyn. This was a trail I hadn’t even hiked, let alone taken my bike up. Setting off full of nerves and adrenalin again on another beautiful day, I noticed my adrenalin hadn’t even come close to settling after the previous day round Nan. I know I was being really ambitious even considering Hellvelyn that day, but I was too intrigued.
Before I knew it I had descended Sticks Pass and was back at the car. I was overwhelmed, tired and not ready for a break in pushing my riding (I was due to be heading to Eastbourne with my Mum!). I felt there was so much I hadn’t even begun to explore, my riding had been really progressing and I was really enjoying finding loads of new trails. I was itching to come back and I had some serious added motivation.
Next stop …. the North