Here’s a report on the Mal ride written by John Butler andsome photos Trev and I took on the day. As the Edgar ride hasn’t happened again this year and Mal had never ridden up Harknott or Wrynose when we saw the forecast was dry for Sunday we organised the Mal/Edgar run – sorry to those who didn’t get the info. in time but if people are keen we can run a few more rides further afield in the coming months. Special mention must go to Phil who rode home when everyone else got
back in their cars so he probably clocked 100 miles!
If the ‘old’ Edgar Phillips route could be described as ‘tough’ the new route is best described as a ‘mini Fred Whitton’ and one that introduced a new experience to some of the ten Lune taking part – walking up a 33% gradient in Look shoe cleats! Designed, led and organized by Trev and Leanne a new club record was established when all of us had driven out and were ready to start at 9am on the old A590 road from Gilpin Bridge. The route went to Lindale and over Bigland hill to Haverthwaite. A puncture by Howard near the top of the descent gave us all a welcome break and Trev and Rob the chance to stretch their legs by riding up again to give Howard a hand. After crossing the busy A590 quiet lanes led the group to Torver where the route turned south west for the first taste of the steep roads to come on a minor road to Broughton Mill. Then first biggish climb of the day then started over the Dunnerdale Fells to the beautiful Ulpha valley, though Trev pointed out that this was a ‘non category climb!’
Heavy rain and dark skies led to an early brew stop then provided an opportunity to vote on the route – either one or two hors category climbs; the latter was overwhelmingly selected, this was partly due to Mal who according to Trevor had expressed a desire ‘to ride Hardknott Pass before he died’. The next climb was over Birker Fell with Mark and Rob, Trev and Leanne set the pace to the top, which was followed by one of the better descents of the day as we swept down into Eskdale. We then followed a very full river Esk along a misleadingly flattish lane into the heart of the Lake District; to our left lay Sca Fell and Bow Fell and to our right Harter Fell. As Eskdale swung northwards the road went straight on towards what appeared to be a mountain side – Hardknott Pass! Immediately the road kicked upwards and continued to do so, presenting a challenge even to those on triple chainsets and specially imported cassettes. Conditions worsened when a brief but hefty shower hit the back markers just before the top where Trev was taking pics. The descent with 7 continuous gradient arrows on the map and lots of grit and potholes was a bit chilling and one guy who had joined us crashed and was ably patched up by Howard’s mobile 1st aid kit. The descent led straight onto the next Hors Category climb – Wrynose Pass, a lot kinder on the shoe cleats but
challenging all the same. By this time the rain had eased to reveal some superb
views into the main massif of the Lakes as we reached Little Langdale.
A fast ride to Hawkshead for a welcome brew stop gave us a chance to replenish depleted calories and rest tired legs. We then set off to the ferry and sat in glorious sunshine awaiting its arrival – another welcome break! With ‘ferry legs’ the long climb up from the lake towards the Lythe valley commenced with the group commendably staying in a tight formation. The descent back to Gilpin Bridge saw the average speed raised considerably with Ian Bres and Rob putting in two massive Ian Stannard type turns at the front which acted as a springboard for Leanne to make a successful solo break over the last mile to the Gilpin. So ended a really good tribute to Edgar – 73 miles and thanks to the info on Phil’s Garmin, a recorded 2305 metres of climbing.