Spring into the Dales – 70 miles

hobby [hob-ee] –noun

an activity or interest pursued for pleasure and not as a main occupation

So reads the dictionary definition of hobby.  The key word there is pleasure!  At the moment my knee hurts and muscles at the back of my legs/backside that I don’t even know the name of (or that I had) are aching pretty full on.  I changed my saddle on Friday and whilst it felt great yesterday I adjusted it “slightly” as I was sliding forward.  Whether it was the over-adjustment too far the other way, or the 5868ft of climbing that has caused my pain, I’d like you all to know that cycling remains my hobby.  I’m pretty sure that makes me a masochist.  Or an idiot.  Or both.

Hills, hills and more hills

Let me draw your attention to some pertinent facts about the profile above.  The ride started and immediately took us up a climb for 4 miles.  The fairly fast descent was welcome but too short before hitting a few more hills.  By the 20 mile mark we’d done 3 decent climbs totalling about 10 miles of “upwards”.  The scenery and the weather at this point was absolutely brilliant.  The first real stop was at the Dalesman’s cafe in Cargrave – a lovely olde worlde cafe and sweet shop.  I was riding with Andy and Anthony from North Cheshire Clarion and we enjoyed cake and coffee as we grabbed a breather.

Dalesman Cafe in Cargrave

As this ride was an audax we needed to get our Randonneur cards stamped which we duly did.

The next 20 miles, although “lumpy” were relatively flat with some delightful riding skirting round Skipton through North Yorkshire.  Heading back towards the finish through Bronte Country we then hit a mile and a half of 10% climbing which at that point was a real killer.  Struggling over the top the downhill couldn’t come quickly enough but unfortunaetly at the bottom was the start of the final ascent.  This one lasted 10 miles!  The first 5 were fairly benign but it soon turned into a slow grind up the hill which was just head down and push through it.

The descent to the finish was fast and furious – until the traffic stopped to let a fire engine through with full lights and sirens – causing a very panicky emergency stop round a bend from 35mph to 0mph in very short order!

Total time round was 5hrs, 17mins, 9 secs (I ran a “guess the time” competition at work) at an average speed of 13.1mph.  A great buffet at the end helped fill the 4479kcals used up!