Formed in June 09, Here Come the Belgians is a non-elite anti-team celebrating all things cross, cobbled and Belgian.
Seeking a different experience to the traditional cycling club, its aim is to harness the energy of a vibrant internet cycling community with grass roots racing and riding based around Cyclocross and Spring Classics. There is no race programme in the style of a racing team, more a collection of individual experiences through rides and racing, in whatever location a member may be, that all can share in and contribute toward.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Lakeland Adventure

School half term so our clan set off on a wet Saturday morning up the M6 heading to one of my favourite places in the world - The Lake district.
We stay at a great campsite at Watermillock on the shore of Ulswater which gives great access to a wide variety of bridleways and trails to explore.

Don't be fooled

Sunday morning and the weather was having none of the met office's forecast and was stubbornly blowing a gale and dumping heavy showers on our heads, undeterred I set off on my planned ride to Keswick via Dochray and the stunning old coach road to St Johns in the Vale.
For all you Peaks obsessives this is a great training ride steep climbs lose stone track and a great drop down a gravel and rock strewn track!
Just avoid it when the weather is blowing hard and wet it makes it a real challenge and as it is very exposed don't do what I did and ride it alone with no survival bag.
The plus side was having the route almost to myself and the expressions on the faces of the few walkers i did meet was priceless, as I cheerfully greeted them with a "good morning what a fantastic day" as i rode through a puddle that covered my feet!!! A quick blast down the old railway line into Keswick (great to take younger riders on this route) and i arrived at my sisters hotel very wet, very muddy but with a huge smile on my face.

Should you be here sir??

Monday afternoon and Matt my youngest, Russ (brother in law) and me headed off to Whinnlatter to ride the blue trail. As I pulled onto the car park the looks of the baggy shorted full sus mtb crowed were agog, obviously they all thought i was mad riding a road bike on the trails.
The blue route is the latest addition and is aimed at the less extreme rider, Matt coped really well with the climbs and loved the berms and jumps (all can be rolled) and i really enjoyed the twitchyness of riding a rigid frame on some stunning single track. If you are in the area go ride this you will love it and the cafe serve some great food and coffee. To experience the full fun of these trails then ride a mtb (a must on the red route as there are plenty of drop offs that would catch you out) then you can jump and drop to your hearts content, you can even hire one from cyclewise on site. If you want to sharpen your handling skills on your cross bike then ride the blue trail and you can practice sprinting out of tight switchbacks, trying to keep traction as you climb slippy tracks through dense forest and amaze the MTB riders showing them that 5" of travel is not necessary on a bike when skill and fitness are in abundance (well we can dream).

Matt ripping up the track

If anybody fancies a day out in this area let me know as there are some stunning rides I aim to do in the near future we could have a HCtB Lakeland day out.

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