I got a text from Anthony last night. It said that there was a yellow rain warning and severe gales expected today, and asked if we were in fact going to attempt this ride. After a literate and rousing motivational reply, Anthony turned up this morning and we headed over to the start at Halifax. It was windy but dry. A spot of toast and suddenly we were the only ones left – the others had gone. Within the first mile we went the wrong way and after a bit of messing about we retraced and got back on route. Anthony rode with old friend Peter Bond for a while before we got lost a second time after a closed road took us off the route. By now we were wet and it was clear my motivational text had worn off. The rain got worse and the wind kicked up, sweeping me several yards across the road at one point before I even knew what had happened. It sounded like a jet engine in the trees!
At the first café stop 40 miles in I got a text from Liz asking me to stop and come home because the weather was frightening. At that point we were soaked through, freezing cold and wary of the wind. We decided to bail.
After wringing my socks out in the toilets, and eating soup and eggs on toast, we calculated the quickest route back and set off. I have the say that the last 10 miles were possibly the worst I’ve experienced on a bike. Absolutely drenched from head to foot, I couldn’t feel either my feet or my fingers. Braking and changing gear was proving more and more challenging. Riding down the valley from Burnley to Todmorden to Halifax into a headwind was hard enough, but with alarming frequency the wind would swirl sideways blowing me either into the kerb or into the centre of the road. Helpfully, motorists were giving us a wider berth (#sarcasm) so it wasn’t at all scary (#moresarcasm).
At the end we’d done 71 miles and there were still a dozen audaxers aiming to finish – I am in awe of their fortitude.
Ride stats : 71.45 miles in 5hrs 14m @ 13.6mph. 4983ft climbing, average HR 122bpm, 3152kcals used