The South Lakes 100 ride is to commemorate Jenn, who passed away far too early in life from cancer a couple of years ago. As her presence in the biking industry was significant this lovely ride was set up in her memory. It started last year and is the only bike packing that I do. Also it is the only event where my husband I ride together. There are many we do at the same time but rarely at the same pace or in the same category.

As a 100 mile circular route, it has lots of tough climbs including most of the passes round Lake Windermere, starting and ending in Staveley. This year’s weather was milder, and wetter than the searing heat of last year, making the riding far more tolerable. The scenery was fantastic, even with the clouds. It changes from the rocky climbs, to grassy fields, up tracks and along bridleways. Windermere peaks out now and again, providing stunning views, to remind us of where we are.

Slightly more used to having the weight on my bike from the packs I felt it an easier trip this time. Once your body has done something once there is always that memory there to help the muscles do what they need to do. It meant there was less shocks. Of course it is hugely helped by the number of café stops we make! It’s not a race for us and the aim is to enjoy. By the time we got to our bivvy stop out on the other side of the forest up on Hawes, about 60 miles in, it was getting dark. There is such a joy in stopping riding your bike, opening a bag, pulling out your bivvy sleeping bag and getting in it. OK there is the usual faff of the mat and having a cuppa/eating perhaps but in essence it’s just so simple. A way of really being in your surroundings and not burdened by the usual life worries. I’d like to pretend it was just Phil and I, out in the elements ourselves…but actually it was a pretty busy spot. It seemed that half the South Lakes 100 riders were kipping up there, great minds and all that.

I slept like a baby and awoke to a misty view of the Lake, but still amazing from the height we were at. We had a marvelous cup of brewed cafetiere coffee from the wonder that is a Jet Boil, ate some breakfast and headed off. The second day’s weather slowly cleared and as we rolled round the last 40 miles the sun came out. We arrived back at base tired but smiling for the two days of chatting, eating, climbing, descending, sometimes just us, sometimes with other riders, all of whom had taken on the ethos of relax and enjoy. Great event and can’t wait to do it next year.

Big thanks to @keep_pedalling for the excellent Apidura packs, @use_exposure for the lights that shine up to the moon, @cooksonscycles for my Trek Superfly that keeps on performing, Richard Munro for the event, and finally my husband Phil for suggesting we share this awesome ride.