There has been some biblical weather on this ride. In 2012 it was gale force winds and rain that forced Anthony and I to abandon, and last year it was persistent rain that near enough gave me hypothermia. This year it was cold and windy to start with, with outbreaks of sun later on, a single rain shower, and a bloody headwind all the way home, so slightly all in slightly better.
I was over an hour slower than 2013 and much of that was down to a sluggish malaise that I was unable to shrug off for the first 60 miles or so. In fact, I was so sluggish that at the cafe at Glasson Dock I overheard one rider who had passed me earlier telling others that I must be ill. I wasn’t ill. Just slow.
In many ways I should have enjoyed it more – simply pottering along in some very nice countryside, including one of my favourite places at the Trough of Bowland. But I didn’t really. I found it a struggle. Not physically, although I was suffering some severe pain in my left knee, but mentally. Perhaps the pain in my knee contributed, or maybe it was just tiredness?
Thankfully, after beans on toast, a scone with jam and a mug of coffee I actually managed to shake off the doldrums and put a decent shift in riding back. Despite the headwind and sore knee I made very good time through Longridge (stopping for ibuprofen painkillers), Burnley (unexpected GPX diversion down a canal path), Todmorden and along the valley through Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd to the finish at Halifax.
At the finish, somewhat annoyed at the GPX route taking me down a canal path in Burnley (you don’t need much imagination to know what that’s like) I mentioned to Chris Crossland that I didn’t much care for this new route. Looking bemused he asked what canal path – there wasn’t one on the route? Despite me not having route re-calculation switched on, the Garmin had somehow made up its own route down a canal path which brought me back onto the main route. “Lucky” for me I suppose. Anyway, I made it back without ending up in the water or being interfered with, so that’s the main thing.
Ride stats : 126.6 miles in 8hrs 8mins at 15.5mph average. 8,177ft ascent, energy used 4,574kcals. Average HR 121bpm