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 – uncharted 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.

Ade's Road Cycling Blog

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.

Ade's Road Cycling Blog

12,071ft of climbing

Overall the route was absolutely fantastic – well 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 – a 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 – which 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