Jade is back! After staking her claim on the Lakeland 200 for another attempt, things didn’t quite go to plan. We think this makes a better story and is perfect for our brave riders heading out to tackle the Lakeland 200 on the weekend of the 19th-21st August.
In May Sally Ozanne became the first female finisher of the route, and set an incredibly speedy FKT of 22 hours 50 minutes. There is a great video on her Instagram (@salozanne) which captures her very impressive ride. The bar had been set, and the Steezy Collective started organising a mass finish for women in the summer, for any women who wanted to give the route a go. Top Adventure Filmmaker, Catherine (@_catherine_dunn), was going to film the attempts and we would also self-document our rides.
Four months later I was back in Staveley. This time I was not carrying any camping kit and I was determined to ride the entire route in one go and hoping that I could finish within 40 hours. I had added up my riding time for the route over the five days (22 hours) and was trying to figure out the correct equation to convert that to an estimated finishing time. (22 hours – (additional weight of camping kit + post covid fatigue) + stopping time) x an exhaustion coefficient? I thought I might be able to finish in 35 hours, if everything went well. I had invited Cat, who I met on the Highland Trail, and convinced her to also come and give it a crack. She had never ridden through the night before and was keen to try, and I was sure she would manage a sub 40 hour finish having seen how strong a rider she was. A third woman, Jenni, was also having an attempt, and I was hoping to meet her as I’m a fan of her podcast (Conversations with Dr Jen). Jenni set off Friday evening while Cat and I had a nice meal in the pub in Staveley. After dinner we were briefed by Catherine, found a little camp spot, and fell asleep just as a little pitter patter of rain drops started.
It was raining when we got up at 4 am, and it was raining when we started riding at 5. I had been checking the forecasts, and they assured me that it would rain heavily in the morning but would dry up around lunchtime, and it was going to be warm, so I wasn’t put off by the steady rain as we headed towards Ambleside. The first section of the route is arguably the easiest, and despite the rain and exceptionally slippy rocks we made good time as we looped round Lake Windermere and rode into Grizedale Forest. In March there were a few sections of trail which had been exceptionally slow going due to fallen down trees, and I was thankful to find they had all been cleared.