Last year the weather on this ride was terrible. Strong, gale-force winds and persistent rain forced us to abandon at the first control (described here). Well once again the day started off with no rain, but a strong wind. And, despite my wearing of shorts, it was freezing cold. I warmed up though as we zipped along in a group of very fast riders, climbing out of Halifax. At 10 miles I turned right (following the route) whilst they carried on. For the remainder of the ride I would be riding alone, joined only by the rain which started soon afterwards. The first control was at Whalley Abbey – some 37 miles in. By this point the waterproofing on my gloves, overshoes and jacket had failed and I was cold and soaked. The headwind made things colder, although battling against it countered that by increasing my heart-rate and body temperature. Beans on toast and coffee helped warm me further before the rain and wind took their further toll.
The ride headed up over the Trough of Bowland, which is beautiful countryside usually. In this weather it was a slog – the wind blowing the rain into my face as I pushed up the hill, remembering to smile at the camera as I went past Dave on the hill! How he didn’t catch his death stood there I don’t know. The descent was absolutely freezing and by the time I rolled towards the halfway point the westerly wind was driving hard. As I approached the Lantern o’ the Lune the swingbridge swung and a yacht entered the loch. I sat there quietly developing hypothermia for 5 minutes before I realised I could carry my bike over the footbridge on the lockgates. The cafe was warm but I couldn’t stop shivering. Even hot food and drink didn’t really help, and my fingers remained stiff and unwieldy even clasping a mug of coffee.
Back on with wet clothes and out into it again. I realised the only way to warm up was to work hard, so I zipped along at a fair old whack, stopping only at the control in Longridge before heading towards Todmorden, and down the valley through Hebden Bridge and up into Halifax. At the end I was still freezing cold – a feeling that didn’t leave me all evening. I did, however, somehow manage to get tan-lines on my bare legs. A cloudtan you could say.
Ride stats : 126 miles in 7hrs 42m at 16.4mph average. 5,727ft ascent. 6,061kcal energy used, average HR 136bpm