Setting off from a car park in Padiham, near Burnley, at 8 am, a small group of audaxers headed North out of Lancashire and into the Yorkshire Dales. In the group was Martin, Anthony and I from North Cheshire Clarion, riding the Tan Hill 200 audax which is a 200km audax with 4 AAA altitude points! That effectively meant 4000m of climbing – uncharted territory for all of us, especially over such a distance!
By 8-30am we had already conquered the Nick o’ Pendle and the hills were coming thick and fast. We moved North through Clitheroe and Slaidburn, skirting the Bowland Forest and then heading North East into the Yorkshire Dales. A cafe stop in Hawes at a cafe with a fierce East European waitress helped fortify us as we headed for the big climbs up to the heighest points on the ride.
The first was Buttertubs – thankfully up the “easier” southside and the views from 1700ft in the sun were fantastic. Next up was Tan Hill, which has a steep kick at the start, a long grind, and then a sharp sting in the tail. A quick stop at the Tan Hill pub and we were off again. The third climb in this area was the worst – I don’t know what it is called but it was horrible. A couple of miles long, rising 900ft, it was straight into a headwind which made it feel much, much worse.
Gradually the hills were sapping our strength and the headwind, although slight, was not helping. We stopped at Bolton Castle tearoom for coffee and some cake and then a final sting in the tail at 90 miles nearly finished the guys off. From that point onwards we were hanging in until the end.
Overall the route was absolutely fantastic – well done to Andy Corless the organiser for a great day. For the princely sum of £3 we got a great ride, great weather and a goodie-bag at the end that was easily worth way more than the entry fee. Well done for Martin and Anthony for hanging in too – a very tough day but enjoyable nonetheless.
Ride stats : 129 miles in 9hrs 29m @ 13.6mph average. 12,071ft climbing, 6,863kcals used