Friday, March 21, 2008

North Yorkshire Moors - Fylindales Loop 15th March 2008

Ok, so this route was a bit adventurous considering the time of year and the quantity of rainfall we have had recently, however there were still 3 of us Pete, Elliot and myself) out of the team that were stupid enough and available to give it a go as we needed the long distance training. If you google the 36 mile route you will find information about the route with the following description:

Not a route for the unifit, the unskilled or the easily lost. If that doesn't put you off, there's plenty to keep you busy for a full day; miles of moorland singletrack, forested areas and some fairly boggy fields, peppered with some lung busting climbs and some pretty full-on descents. There's plenty of rocky, technical stuff which will test your skills, pretty views to stop for, as well as some fast swooping singletrack to get you moving again.

What it should also say is that if it has rained in the last 2 weeks the tracks you need to follow will be almost invisible, the mud will be like superglue, and the heather, in between the bogs, will be as high as your waist!

So, after leaving the cars in a quiet forest we headed off down a very well kept fire track through the forest for about ten minutes. Then we turned off the firetrack onto a sparsely used track and this was where we hit the first mud section. To be honest at this stage it was quite funny as we all took it in turns in sliding to a muddy end on the floor without any control over the bikes because of the deep, thick gue we were attempting to navigate through.

Once out of the mud we broke out onto the moors, now starting to realise that this was a very bleak and potentially inhospitable place to be caught out if something went wrong, but we were confident. Well I was because I was the one carrying the map!

However Peter had no faith in my navigational skills and was adamant we had gone wrong so he had us cross the river, climb an embankment carry the bikes for about half a mile through bog before deciding that this might not have been one of his best ideas and that we should cross back again. So we did. Through the bog, down an embankment, through the river and into some of the highest heather I have ever seen. Waist high snow would have been easier, but we persevered. (how foolish!)

There was light at the end of the tunnel though as we could just make out, a few hundred yards away, a trail cutting its way through this very remote part of the Moors. It was probably an hour before we reached the track and at least two hours since I had last ridden my bike (I can't ride through bog, rivers and thigh high heather!) but we finally made it to the track. What a relief. But oh no the track was not a track but a thick, shallow river of molten mud. Not deep but thick like we had never seen before and wherever the mud touched it stayed. The bikes became clogged beyond belief with mud until my rear gear mech gave up the ghost and destructed itself and Pete's chain managed to wrap itself (mud assisted of course) around the crank..... twice.

With repairs made but with two very sick bikes (I had one gear and Pete had a chain that would eventually break 10 minutes later) we decided to head for the cars, hmmmm I wonder where they might be???!

We did made it back and were very relieved to see the cars but with bikes that would need some remedial work after a ride (and bike carry) that started at 10:01 and finished at 15:06.

Please don't let me pick any more training routes!
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