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Fudge Packer Camp – Day 2

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Day 2 was hopefully going to be more about the riding as we knew the route (sort of) and less about the first day incidents.

Fegans bike was fixed this morning, new chain and rear derailler fitted, Gordon fitted a 12-27 cassette to improve on the spinning options from the 25 block yesterday, Lee did the same, those 12-25’s were not the easiest to turn over on the steep ascents. I think both benefitted from the change.

Dan and Lee who were a bit slower yesterday decided to set off first and got a 20 mins head start, we started the ride at Ambleside and the first climb hits you straight away over Holbeck. The ascent up Kirkstone was from the easy side and no problems on the descent either, myself and Adam both managed 54.5mph as a reward for a steady climb.

The next few miles were a bit more friendly and we settled in to a nice pace with wind behind and some good group riding. It took us 23 miles to catch Lee and Dan, problem was, as soon as we joined them we hit the Keswick road and the TT’ing started, this seemed to eject them both straight out of the back. We knew they would find their way as Dan had the Garmin.

The approach to Honister is eerie, entering the village of Seatoller tells you its not far, being able to see the slate mine in the distance backs that up. Tough, back breaking but wierdly not as bad as I remembered, maybe my brain had got used to the steep ascents now

Well earned coffee break on the way down and a few piccies. Dan caught us back up there and we found out he had lost Lee at Keswick, Lee DIDN’T have a Garmin, #groupridefail lol

This is when it started raining, and real Lakes rain, it came quickly and it was brutal, the climb up Newlands became one of the hardest of the day because of the wind and rain, Chris was blown off his bike, Gordon attacked, Fegan dodged him giggling as he went and followed Gordon, Irish John fell off at the top trying to unclip and had to fix his gears for the rest of the ride but it was just a horrible experience.

The descent was more of a punishment than a reward, 25% decline, I was doing 20mph into the wind pushing 350w, I gave up the pushing and just let gravity work its magic. 5 mins later was the first puncture for me for the day. it really saps the moral, piss wet thru, freezing and having to fix a tube, things can only get better.

Whinlatter came and went, this is where we ended up splitting the group again, Irish John was having loads of issues with his gears so they regrouped and sent us on.

The second tough part of the ride was Cold Fell, wind, rain, open moors, it took all I had not to lose it there, shouting into the wind at no-one in particular, it made me feel better to be surrounded by like minded drowned rats ! I was praying for sunshine over Hardknott and Wrynose. By now everyone was out of food, we really needed a stop, found a pub, restocked, the Irish lads caught up again and we headed to Gosforth to grab more food.

From here the main climbs are Santon Bridge, Hardknott, Wrynose & Hawkshead, almost home but the tough climbing to come.

Unbelievably the sun came out, glorious sunshine, we had been blessed, you could feel the warmth and the mood lift. I managed to get a jump on the lads up to Hardknott and gave myself 200m lead into the climb, Gordon and Fegan chasing, Gordon passed me halfway up and I could feel Fegan approaching.

I shouted a bit of abuse, sounded like an attack of tourettes but it was more to lift my spirits than anything else but the next thing I heard was a crash, Fegan had wheelied up a steep part and fallen off trying to get the front wheel back. No harm done, back on and he was chasing again. It was here that I passed Dan, doing a bit of walking, still chirpy.

The descent brought my second puncture of the day, I had to wait for Fegan and Dan as I had no tubes left. Fixed, I set off for Wrynose. This is hard anyway but 95 miles into a tough ride its punishing. All the lads were waiting at the top for a good couple of piccies again.

We all congratulated each other on a good day, some forgetting that getting up to the Coniston road and over Hawkshead was still to come. 4 of us made it on this train home, me, Gordon, Adam and Fegan. Adam decided quickly that he was happy getting back on his own, the other 3 of us tried to burn every match we had left that day and for tomorrow as well. TT’ing all the way back, hard pushes, 30mph thru and off, Hawkshead was like watching Schleck and Contador fighting it out (only slower !) the descent into Skelwith Bridge was great.

We were now home but Fegan still had a jinx up his sleeve, 400m from home still pushing a big gear for no reason whatsoever he snapped the new chain and the resulting whip thru ripped the front derailler clean off and smashed it in half.

It has to be pointed out (by Fegan) that Loz and Lee didn’t complete the full course as we left them at Wrynose and they followed signs back to Ambleside – I reckon its a bit harsh to be fair but this isn’t a knitting camp !

Everyone made it back, all in one piece but we have issues for Sunday. Fegan has no bike and no-one wants to lend him any more bits, Dan has decided to go back today – the official quote is ‘I am f*cked!’

Garmin stats for Fred Whitton

SRM stats for Fred Whitton

Sunday is Etape du Dales, we are currently sitting here trying to talk ourselves into it, aim to leave here at 8.30am and see what the weather brings.

Happy trails.

p.s. Added the stats today for the Fred from my Garmin and SRM.

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