Well bizarrely Anthony and I found ourselves at the start of the ride ready to go a whole 15 minutes early, which is unheard of. We’d parked in a space allocated to the Blind Society, but reasoned that the chances of a blind person wanting to park there were slim to none. We were that early we didn’t know what to do, so we had a cup of coffee and a chat to all the people we now know in the audax world, such as Peter, who tells me he is an avid reader of this blog* Anyway, we set off at 8am and strangely for an audax we rode in a peloton for the first 40 miles or so, which meant we were averaging over 17mph at the time. We had a good chat with Mike Wigley, the secretary of audax uk, who has some interesting plans for the future, and who gave me some good advice about 24 hour time trials.
Anyway after passing through Skipton and Cracoe and other places we seem to frequent a lot these days, we decided to stop for some food before we hit the big climb of Fleet Moss, which gets 9/10 in the 100 climbs book – although we were doing the easier south side apparently. We ate in a bistro (get us) and then set off towards Fleet Moss. Some slight routing problems overcome we hit the slopes. We actually started climbing some 12 miles before but Fleet Moss itself is about 3 miles long with a couple of 14-15% sections. I’d taken sun lotion with me so of course the day was cloudy, but still very warm going up. We went up with some senior riders, two of whom went past me on the climb and I couldn’t catch them again – amazing stuff! Anyway, at the top I waited for Anthony and then we set off down the descent. The first bit is a 20% drop and then it flattens a bit before dropping again. So we crested the hill and my heart sank. There was a Land Rover in the middle of the road, and a cyclist lay covered with a blanket in front of it, with some of the other addaxes stood around. My first thought was that he had been hit by the car but apparently he had come off trying to avoid a sheep and the kind souls in the Land Rover had stopped to help. Our fellow audaxers had phoned for an ambulance some 20 minutes earlier so Anthony rang again. There was a doctor in the group who suspected broken ribs (and something else I can’t spell). Anyway, with the ambulance reminded again we set off and hit the main descent. Normally I would fly down these but I was slightly unnerved so I stayed on the brakes. Even so I hit 51.3mph! On the way up we passed two ambulances with blue lights flashing, which was good news. It turns out the air ambulance also turned out and eventually took the chap to hospital – I do hope he is okay and not in too much pain.
In Hawes we stopped for a coffee and a chat with some people having a beer – which looked very inviting apart from the slight problem of some 70+ miles to go! We left and headed south, straight into a long grinding climb and a stiff headwind. It was horrible, really hard work but after about 7 miles we started going downhill again, through Settle and to Great Mitton where we stopped for a massive ice cream.
We then had to climb out of the
hole in the ground that is Burnley valley from Burnley which took ages and was again quite unpleasant with a headwind, until we hit Todmorden (horrible memories of the Todmorden Loops audax!) and then headed downhill into Hebden Bridge. There was a last sting in the tail which was a climb into Halifax before we finally finished. This being a Chris Crossland audax there was plenty of great food at the end which was very welcome because for the 2nd week running I hadn’t eaten enough and was feeling it.
Overall, another great day with great company, and a really good event. I hope the injured chap is not injured too badly and makes a quick recovery.
Ride stats : 125 miles in 7hrs 58m at 15.7mph average. 7007ft of climbing, average HR 133bpm, 5758kcals used. Number of times Anthony mentioned my 12-27 cassette – about a million*
*That’s a lie