This is the 3rd year that I’ve ridden Hopey New Year (click for 2011 and 2012 blogs) and this year was by far the best weather we’ve had. I suppose after the last few weeks of ice, cold, rain, more rain, even more rain, more cold and yet more rain we were due a nice day, and so we got what felt like a spring morning. The temperature was pushing 12˚ at times, the sun was briefly out, the wind wasn’t strong and IT DIDN’T RAIN!
I rode with the Saddleworth Clarion guys and the pace alternated between stupidly fast and leisurely! There are only two controls on this ride now and the first one came quickly at 30 miles in Ashbourne. There were a lot of riders out and I’ve noticed that audaxes seem a lot more popular than they were only a couple of years ago. I guess people are realising that sportives are not good value in comparison. The climb out of Ashbourne up Swincoe Hill was an utter nightmare last year, into a strong headwind, but this year was a pleasure.
The second control is at Windy Ridge cafe.
We managed to beat the queues (it gets very busy) and I refuelled with beans and egg on toast. The final leg of the ride is a bit rolling but with the sun out it was really enjoyable. I finished with a quicker time than last year, helped by the better weather and the fact that I’m carrying at least 10 kilo’s less weight too. The cakes at the finish probably didn’t help that but were, as ever, homemade and delicious!
Ride stats : 66 miles in 4hrs 16m at 15.5mph average. 5372ft of climbing, 3482kcals energy used at average HR of 138bpm.