Blog Post by Emma
The Lake District is beautiful all year round, but especially so during Autumn. Fortunately, we can reach this fabulous place in around two hours, so we regularly visit the area for road cycling day trips.
Our route in the South Lake District is fifty miles long, starting from Staveley. It’s definitely a climbers ride with plenty of hills to go at, including a couple of particularly steep ones! It was a lovely autumn day with very little breeze, unusual for this part of the world. Headwinds on the Kirkstone Pass can make for a tough start to this ride, but thankfully the air was unusually still.
Our jersey pockets were packed with ride fuel, this is not a ride where you want to go hungry! We opted for one Le Roulier energy ball each, from The Pedal Bites pack of three, to give us a little pre-ride boost…. breakfast was a long time ago! I love the flavour of cocoa and the natural sweetness of the prunes.
Kirkstone Pass is quite early on in the ride, with gradients touching 16% which helps you gauge how the legs are feeling! The climb has a slightly Pyrenean feel to it, as the gradient changes frequently and it’s hard to get into a steady rhythm. The road climbs up through beautiful green sided mountains and farmland, but as the view opens up as you reach the top, you’re rewarded for the hard work! The descent to Ambleside is a tricky, twisty road known as The Struggle. I suspect the name is more to do with it’s ascent, but if I’m honest I still find the descent a bit of a struggle!!
After leaving Ambleside the route passes the beautiful Rydal Water and onto Grasmere, where the 25% Red Bank awaits us! It’s not a long climb, over in a few minutes, but it sure is steep. It was time for a snack. We’d both opted for Fruity Fuel and Nuts about Grains for our ride, as the carbs content is high in both of these products. We shared one of each bar type, enjoying the mixture of flavours. I especially like the texture that the quinoa gives to the Fruity Fuel. The natural sweetness is delicious.
So it was onto Coniston, spectacular with the autumnal colours. Riding the length of the lake, the road is rolling and you can pick up a good pace, but somehow it doesn’t feel right to be motoring on when the surrounding scenery is so beautiful. The road that circles the lake is simply stunning, with the mountains that shadow Coniston village clearly in view. We like to take our time on this part of the ride, and soak up the scenery for as long as possible.
Hawkshead comes next, then the village of Sawry, past the picturesque Beatrix Potter house, and we are soon on the exhilarating descent to the Windermere ferry crossing. This little stop doesn’t really do your legs any favours, so we decided to give our recovery a head start with some Re-Energiser balls, a good protein kick after all that climbing. If you’re a fan of peanut butter, you will love these!
The light was starting to dip by mid afternoon, but this made for a very atmospheric view across Lake Windermere. The ferry crossing doesn’t take too long and we were soon onto the final part of the ride, rolling roads for just a few miles, through Crook, then back to Staveley, where a cuppa, and possibly a cake awaits us, at Wilf’s Cafe.