Sunday, 3 January 2016

Bassenthwaite Trials Club: Longlands Trial

What a finish to the Christmas period...

Bassenthwaite Club were running their trial at Longlands Fell. Lucy & I decided to go; Me to ride, her to wander on the fells and practice her navigation for an upcoming mountain leadership qualification. About 50+ riders had turned up as this was also a championship round. 3 laps, 11 sections, miles of hillside transitions between sections! Fab...

Parked up & ready to play!
I signed in at the start, paid my £15.00 entry fee and then waited for the sound of bike engines so I could follow the folk who knew this trial to the start. I got worried when I noticed several had a fuel can strapped onto the bags and a rucsac. A first for a trial I'd been to!

Route to Section 1

The transition to the start was a long trip across the boggy moorland to Longlands and then up the hillside to a stream bed. A collection of about 20 bikes had already gathered and several of the guys were walking their choice of route.

Section 1
I'd booked for the easy route as this is still only my 3rd of 4th trial. This section turned out to be a steep grassy slope climb into the top of the beck, then a short curving climb out of the rocky bed. It didn't look too bad. My attempt however saw me bounce off a little hole and a tuft of grass into the stream at such an odd angle, I decided to bail and try again. Unfortunately everyone else had turned up by then so I just headed to section 2 thinking I'd have a go on the second lap.

Section 2 was away over the fell, into a tight rocky little stream bed.  it was really good and I thought my kind of riding but again, I ended up dabbing my foot but finished it. The experts then had a big rock step in a water fall to climb... it looked and was hard!

Section 2

The harder waterfall
Section 3 was a dryish rocky climb, the hard section went up a steep bank to exit left and required the guys to bounce their bikes for traction, for us novice types it was a straight forward bounce up the little rocky base into a muddy puddle then climb out. I started OK but soon got bounced off on a slippy round rock and had to dab my foot, being off balance caused me to do same again until eventually I was so far off line I couldn't make the puddle. Another one down!

Section 3, hard climb out left
The next transition was a good 10 minutes of riding across the fells towards the Trusmadoor Valley. My bike decided it was time to start playing up and kept cutting out, not a place to be left out in the wilds! I sorted it out and got it started again, but it didn't feel right, and stalled again as I arrived at Section 4. This turned out to be a great little rocky beck climb with several rock steps in it. I bounced up it but failed at the exit, more foot dabs... and a really tight turn at the top which required the bike to be popped onto its back wheel and spun to the exit direction... something I'm crap at, still I eventually got out, with some help from the scoring guy! 

Section 4
Section 5 was up a lot of steep grassy slopes and I gave up even trying to get there after nearly 10 mins of sliding around, so heading direct to section 6. En route I fell in a bog, got soaked and had to drag a nearly drowned bike out. Not great, at least no one saw me so I saved the piss taking for another day! I got the poor old Sherco started and headed off, loving the views of Overwater and out to the Solway.

So section 6 was a narrow mud trail then into the beck for more rocky sections... I  bounced off again and ended with a walk up the last big rock step.

Looking towards the Solway Coast

I was now cold, wet and feeling very sore so decided to head towards the next one and see how I felt then. I got so far round and decided that between the bike running badly, my awful riding, plus aching all over it was time to head back to the van. So I did just that... Rhubarb tart & tea time!

My trials riding is utterly rubbish, but I love doing it and better still I get to ride around the fells and see the great scenery from a different perspective. There are, as always generally with the biking fraternity, some really genuine good people who will chat and laugh and talk about all kinds of things, they help each other out and just get on with it... The way things should be.

So time to clean all the bikes and do a service now as Lucy & I were out the day before this in Northumberland on the KTM's and that was a mild epic too! 2 drowned biked and a long towing session for one of the team, neither of us I'm glad to say!

Lucy wandered around the sections and took a load of pictures, (with a very happy Labrador who loves trials bikes as she knows she's out on the fells for awhile when they start up!), so she'll add something soon.

Trials loving labrador
Transition sections on open fell
She's now shopping for her own trials bike, a little 125 is her preferred, but maybe a 250!!