The stunted rainfall situation may have somewhat reasserted itself but with temperatures still only slowly declining it was easy to miss the fact that autumn was well under way. In the traditional seasonal timeframe, as inconsistent as that framework seems these days, we should have been hitting a period of trail hibernation. Or at least retreat to some form of easily accessed, well drained haunt as most of the country turns to clag and trails are abandoned for the festivities. But with epic rides pushing on to warm dusks and eked out multi-dayers ending in darkness behind us, controversially I was about to embark on nearly 100km across the Lake District.
Although it was a ‘best laid’ rollover plan from mid-summer rather than a deliberately scheduled autumnal epic, the idea nevertheless was to breach the gap between Whitehaven on the west coast of the Lakes and Askam just outside Penrith to the east. Pig-headedly ignoring the limiting factor of at least an hour’s less daylight to complete 47km on day one and 42km on the concluding day, I worked on the now or never assumption. Chancing a break in the Lakeland deluges was a success and if it hadn’t have been for those pesky clocks going back an hour we might have got away with it. That was the first scapegoat as I dragged our snapper Andy McCandlish and Al Byford over the precarious boulders of Scarth Gap Pass
in questionable safety.

For the full feature, see the January 2007 issue of MBR