Dales Delight 200k Audax

Ade's Road Cycling Blog

The Dales Delight 200k audax packs 4 AAA points into its 125 miles, starting in Lancashire, and running through the Yorkshire Dales and Cumbria. ¬†As seems usual with an Andy Corless event it’s full of hills!

I spotted a few regulars at the start, including the usual mad ones who seem to think it’s sensible to ride to and from a 200k 4AAA as clearly it isn’t long enough on its own – hello Peter ūüėČ

The weather was very chilly at the start but clear, with the sun pushing through, and it remained so for the whole day.  A bit of a wind was blowing from NW to SE which made some of the riding a bit tougher than it needed.

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10,705ft ascent

Ade's Road Cycling Blog

Once off the A59 the route was absolutely superb. ¬†Hats off to Andy for that – for 20 or 30 mile stretches I didn’t see a car – and the countryside and scenery was superb. ¬†The only problem was the hills! ¬†There were some real beasts. ¬†Buttertubs from the North side (8/10 in the 100 climbs book), Fleet Moss from Hawes (9/10 in the 100 climbs book) and several other bumps like Newby Head to-boot.

I did think I was a reasonable climber but every so often you get put very firmly in your place. ¬†On a climb that was somewhere between 15% and 20% over 3 miles a guy went past me and put about a mile into me. ¬†He went past like I was stood still (I almost was!) but he didn’t seem to be struggling that much, whereas I was weaving about and gasping for breath! ¬†So there’s clearly still work to do for me.¬†On that note, this time last year I’d earned 4.5 AAA points and had done 45,967ft of climbing at the end of March 2011. ¬†This year I’ve earned 10.75 AAA points, and up to the 18th March 2012 I’ve done 72,621ft, and I’ve still got two weeks to go! I guess I need to start working on rate of climb now.

My HR strap was playing up somewhat – seemingly slipping out of position on the big climbs meaning my HR was in the 130’s whilst I was gasping away – so the average HR and calorie total will be off slightly.

Controls were pretty good – I did end up on my backside on the stone floor of one when my cleats slipped – and Andy popped up from time to time taking photos, so I look forward to those!

All in all, a really great day Рvery tough but very rewarding.  Chapeau to Andy.

Ride Stats : 127miles in 8hrs 45mins @ 14.4mph.  10,705ft ascent.  Average HR 144bpm, 7088kcals used

Strava ride here

Tan Hill 200 Addendum

I forgot to mention that with the tremendous hills yesterday came some brilliant descents.  These were real point-the-bike-and-hold-on-for-dear-life drops, and I broke the 40mph barrier on 12 (yes twelve!) different occasions, maxing out at 51.8mph!

Also, when the total ascent went over 9999ft I discovered a bug on the Garmin 800. ¬†It justs displays “—-” even though it correctly records the ascent. ¬†Bizarrely, total descent displays fine over 9999ft. ¬†So if this happens to you it’s “normal” – I have reported the bug to Garmin so we’ll see whther that gets ironed out in the next firmware update.

Tan Hill 200 Audax

Ade's Road Cycling Blog

Setting off from a car park in Padiham, near Burnley, at 8 am, a small group of audaxers headed North out of Lancashire and into the Yorkshire Dales.  In the group was Martin, Anthony and I from North Cheshire Clarion, riding the Tan Hill 200 audax which is a 200km audax with 4 AAA altitude points!  That effectively meant 4000m of climbing Рuncharted territory for all of us, especially over such a distance!

By 8-30am we had already conquered the Nick o’ Pendle and the hills were coming thick and fast. ¬†We moved North through Clitheroe and Slaidburn, skirting the Bowland Forest and then heading North East into the Yorkshire Dales. ¬†A cafe stop in Hawes at a cafe with a fierce East European waitress helped fortify us as we headed for the big climbs up to the heighest points on the ride.

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Martin at the top of a hill

The first was Buttertubs – thankfully up the “easier” southside and the views from 1700ft in the sun were fantastic. ¬†Next up was Tan Hill, which has a steep kick at the start, a long grind, and then a sharp sting in the tail. ¬†A quick stop at the Tan Hill pub and we were off again. ¬†The third climb in this area was the worst – I don’t know what it is called but it was horrible. ¬†A couple of miles long, rising 900ft, it was straight into a headwind which made it feel much, much worse.

Ade's Road Cycling Blog

Anthony can't quite get the hang of the right turn signal

Gradually the hills were sapping our strength and the headwind, although slight, was not helping.  We stopped at Bolton Castle tearoom for coffee and some cake  and then a final sting in the tail at 90 miles nearly finished the guys off.  From that point onwards we were hanging in until the end.

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12,071ft of climbing

Overall the route was absolutely fantastic Рwell done to Andy Corless the organiser for a great day.  For the princely sum of £3 we got a great ride, great weather and a goodie-bag at the end that was easily worth way more than the entry fee.  Well done for Martin and Anthony for hanging in too Рa very tough day but enjoyable nonetheless.

Ride stats : 129 miles in 9hrs 29m @ 13.6mph average.  12,071ft climbing, 6,863kcals used



Tan Hill Challenge 208km Audax

The North Cheshire Clarion crack Audax team (minus Andy who was busy) were up at stupid o’ clock travelling to Shipton, North of York. ¬†What awaited Anthony and I was a 130 mile audax including the climbs of Buttertubs, Tan Hill and Leyburn Moor!

A prompt (for once) 8am start saw us ride North East towards the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  The first 24 miles were relatively flat but then it gradually started to climb.  We also turned West and into a pretty fierce headwind.  The first stop was at the Border House Tea Rooms in Masham

The carrot cake was mine

Setting off again the headwind was still strong and carried on through to 56 miles, sapping the legs and proving ideal preparation for climbing Buttertubs! ¬†We had passed through some lovely countryside and very smart villages but the scenery going up Buttertubs was absolutely stunning. ¬†The clear air and good weather meant the views went on for mile upon mile, which in part helped take the mind of the steep and relentless climbing! ¬†It lasted about 3 miles, ascended some 1000ft and hit 15% gradients. ¬†The wind was whipping across us now and at the top there is a sheer drop to the side of the road protected only by a high-tensile wire barrier designed for cars – plenty of room for a cyclist to go through it – making it a little bit “exciting!” ¬†The descent down the other side was fast, furious and superb fun, hitting 45mph at its fastest.

Anthony battles up Buttertubs

The clue to the next challenge is in the name of the event – we climbed Tan Hill. ¬†This was a longer climb – 6 miles – but only (!) ascended 750ft. ¬†At its steepest part it was 17% but somehow felt easier than Buttertubs because there were a number of flatter “rest” plateaus on the way up. ¬†It led us to the Tan Hill Inn which is the highest pub in England and seems hugely popular as it was packed. ¬†They also act as a control point so the organisers must have a decent relationship with them, but we were disappointed as the service was really, really poor.

Proof we were there!

We now believed the worse was behind us and we were looking forward to another fast descent Рwhich we got.  So fast that I was contemplating overtaking a car until it pulled out of our way and let us through!

There was one more hill to climb at Leyburn Moor, which turned out to be worse than Tan Hill!  It rose some 800ft over about 4 miles and was just relentless with no break from start to finish.  A horrible little climb.

That put us at 87 miles and thankfully 15 miles of downhill and then flat all the way!  A quick pick-me-up at the Posthorn tea room in Leyburn meant we had 40 miles to go, and we decided to give it everything.  The next 10 miles we completed in 27 minutes, the next after that in 33.  In short we managed to do the final 40 miles in just over 2 hours and then enjoy free tea, sandwiches and cake at the end.  It was 7pm and we had been out 11 hours, although only 8hrs and 36m of that were riding (apparently the first finisher was at 3-20pm!!!!!)  Anyway, we were now officially Randonneurs.

If you haven’t done an Audax, do one. ¬†This event was everything that is excellent about audaxing – a great route, good organisation, superb value for money and really friendly people – including three pensioners we’d met several times around the route and who finished just after us! ¬†Thanks to Mark Antrobus and Clifton Cycling Club for organising.

Ride Stats : 130.21miles, 8hrs 36m, 5715ft climbing, 15.1mph average, 6650kcals used