The Dales Delight audax is a fantastic rollercoaster ride through Lancashire, the Yorkshire Dales, a bit of Cumbria and back again. It’s the 3rd time I’ve done this and it never fails to disappoint as you are transported through some of the most stunning scenery in the country. Even wet and cold weather didn’t put a dampener on things.
It has some absolutely leg-shattering climbs too. If you discount the “rolling” start (audax code for hilly) then the first real climb comes after a descent under a Settle-Carlisle viaduct, down a valley and back up the Coal Road – starts off steep and keeps going!
Then there’s the climb over Swaledale after the first control – something I’d forgotten about and which is another long and challenging climb, starting steep and then flattening but still going up. The descent into Thwaite to the second control is not the best of the day but still exhilarating enough.
From the control it’s straight up Buttertubs North side – which I’m told is opposite to the Tour de France route.
The descent is fast and furious – and check out the cyclist coming up the other side at 04:17 – I don’t know who was more surprised, him or me!
Past the farmers fields advertising parking space for when the Tour comes and into Hawes, the route is then out and up Fleet Moss. This is a challenging climb because the wind whistles down and you can see it in the distance, mentally challenging you and sapping the will from your legs
The descent from Fleet Moss takes you onto one of my favourite roads in the country, running alongside the Ribble I think.
After Litton, there is one more big climb – in the rain and wind – note the old style 1 in 6 sign at the start!
Followed by a difficult and dodgy descent!
Ride Stats : 126 miles in 8hrs 10mins at 15.4mph average. Total ascent 10,067ft, energy used 5,240kcals. Average HR 130bpm