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Digital Subscriptions > Singletrack > 109 > JACOB’S CRACKER

JACOB’S CRACKER

TWO RIDERS WITH VERY DIFFERENT STYLES AND EQUALLY DIFFERENT BIKES TAKE ON JACOB’S LADDER.
PHOTOGRAPHY MARK & SANNY

On the phone to Mark at Singletrack, I laid out the pitch: “So I have a notion that it would be a good idea to put my money where my mouth is and ride up Jacob’s Ladder in the Peak District non-stop. I’ve ridden it once before. It was hard, but I did it. I reckon my fat bike would be the weapon of choice. What do you think?”

Without even pausing for breath, Mark was in and I was committed to what is widely regarded as one of the Blue Riband challenges in British mountain biking. Rising up from the Edale Valley and bounded by Kinder Scout, Mam Tor and Rushup Edge, Jacob’s Ladder is an old packhorse route that throughout its short, but steep, journey up the steep-sided valley, is a serious technical challenge not just up but down too. A mixture of loose boulders, step-ups, deeply eroded sides, steep stone and narrow channels; it is a climb that commands respect. To even consider riding it, you have to be confident of both your technical abilities and your stamina. For many, the level of sustained effort and concentration required to successfully ride up it is simply too much to even contemplate. It is a serious undertaking upon which to stake one’s reputation. Many have tried, most have failed. And then there was me – an average rider with a strange liking for technical climbs who has discovered the frankly gobsmacking levels of traction afforded by fat bike technology. It was all going along nicely until…

“Sanny. It’s Mark. You know your Jacob’s Ladder idea? Well, I’ve been speaking to Nick Craig and he rather fancies joining you for the ride.”

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About Singletrack

UK Adventure: Jacob’s Cracker – The nicest man in mountain biking, Nick Craig, gets some Glaswegian encouragement from Sanny as they see who can clear Jacob’s Ladder without stopping. International Adventure: Iceland – Bikepacking in Iceland. Best bring your thermals. International Adventure: The Scottish Connection – Three Scottish friends meet up for an epic road trip round New Zealand before they all go their separate ways. Interview: David Turner – Chipps talks to the reluctant icon behind this cult brand. Classic Ride: Sutton Bank – This steep Yorkshire road climb is known for being too horribly busy (unless it’s been blocked by a misguided lorry) to ride. But how are the trails away from the fumes of brakes and clutches? Bike Test: Sub £1000 hardtails – We check out three hardtails under the magic figure of a grand. There’s no carbon and no full suspension at this price point, but is there fun? You bet there is! Grouptest: Dropper Seatposts – We check out the highs and lows of the current dropper post market. Grinder: The team bring you goods ridden through the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. And possibly a touch of mud. Feature: Trail Leader 3: You literally put your life in the hands of a mountain bike guide. What goes into that experience? Silver Shredders: Mountain bike life doesn’t stop when work does. We look at a bunch of riders making full use of their newfound spare time.
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