Thursday, 10 April 2014

The Borrowdale Shakedown - time to put the Orange Fives through their paces

Every couple of weeks I get the urge to go and ride in the Lakes, I just love the whole getting away from it all and smashing some loose wide open lines with my mates. Borrowdale is the perfect playground with which to get to grips on our new Orange Fives and so, once some phone calls were made, a motley bunch of loveable rogues were soon put together and we hit the A66 across the Pennines.
The warmer Spring weather was starting to hit and it was soon to be a really nice day. Rather than starting at Keswick, i.e. the way all the guide books recommend, we started at the Swinside Inn.  This meant that we thankfully missed the big road section and could instead go up and over the gorgeous Catbells twice - a fully stacked day of rock strewn climbs and descents galore, perfect for seeing how our new bikes handled.
Getting up and over Catbells isn’t easy, a technical climb to start you off where you need to get that rear wheel dug right in and then as it gets steeper the bike goes up and over the shoulders.  

I found my Five Diva easy to carry, it’s a lighter frame to what I was riding previously and this in turn held more advantages later in the day. You see the descent over the other side is absolutely nuts, really steep with very tight corners.  My Five skipped its way merrily down the descent with aplomb, the combination of the 27.5 wheels being fully armed with the new enduro Michelin Wild Rock’R2 tyres and the light frame made for excellent handling and traction.  

Having said that you can’t rest on your laurels down here, I did take a spill or two such is the technicality of the terrain, Steve was the only one who made it down clean, whooping away as he went.

All too soon we were crossing over the bottom of Derwent Water to the start of the big climb up to Watendlath, ready for the next descent…… rocks, rocks and more rocks in no particular order. The last time I rode down there I was on 26 inch wheels, these new 27.5 puppies quite literally swallowed the trail up.  Still getting used to the Diva, which was the whole point of the day, I made a note to drop the front end a little bit when I got home, just to balance the front to back weight out a little, other than that I couldn’t fault the frame.

We had a quick ice cream stop at the picturesque Rosthwaite, for our defence they make their own gorgeous ice cream here and it would e a shame not to try the local delicacies! 

Back on the bikes and up the next mega climb to the Honister pass. From here it’s a U-turn into a traverse and then down another sick loose descent to Grange.

I was pretty spent by this point but it wasn’t over, another hike a bike up Catbells was definitely worth it for the descent on the other side, I came a cropper again towards the bottom getting my bike tangled up amidst rocks and boulders.  But hey, still smiling, that’s the adrenaline buzz for you.  

 Loved the day so much we all went back up with a bigger bunch the following weekend, in the snow!

All in, the Diva is a very agile bike, I need to drop the front a little bit but it’s more or less dialled in from the word go, definitely benefits from a dropper seat post I must add.  Acceleration is good and it feels really stable in high speed rock strewn turns, I’m looking forward to railing this baby at the enduro races.  Look out!

The Development Racing Team can also be followed on Facebook:

No comments:

Post a Comment