Road Ride – Checking Out the Loops

I was just about to nip out on my bike to check out the little loops that I posted about a couple of days ago when buddy Bill rang. He was feeling a bit poorly but wanted to get out in the sunshine for a while so he came over to join me and we set off at a nice steady pace towards Mytholmroyd. We turned right in the village and headed up through Cragg Vale and then turned left halfway up the climb to ride round to test loop #1…

I charged off up the hill and then quickly came to the conclusion that I’m too heavy and unfit to do much of that so I slowed down at the top to wait for Bill to catch up. We completed the loop back to the bottom of the hill and I realised already that doing little loops isn’t really my thing – it made me feel a bit like a hamster in a wheel! I had planned to do each loop at least twice but I abandoned that idea and we just did the climb again since we needed to do that to get on way round to loop #2.

Bill definitely wasn’t on form and he said he’d just do another few miles with me before setting off back home.

When we got to loop #2, I found its climb about the right level of difficulty. Fairly challenging at a brisk pace and it would be hard if I really attacked it. The descent of the loop was dodgy. The lane was narrow with a bend on it, there were some big potholes, and there was a lot of dust and slurry on it by a farm. Fortunately, conditions were dry – it would be dangerous in the wet.

Bill had run out of steam by now. He is usually much stronger than me, so he was plainly coming down with something. We stood and chatted a while, then he left me to test the final couple of loops alone.

I liked loop #3. There were a few potholes on the descent but nothing too bad.

Finally, it was time for Loop #4. I stopped halfway up the climb to take some photos (having completely forgotten to do so up until that point. As you can see – traffic conditions were terrible! 😉

Looking down a lane above Ripponden
Looking down a lane above Ripponden

Rolling hills above Ripponden
Rolling hills above Ripponden

Looking up a lane above Ripponden
Looking up a lane above Ripponden

No, that is my kind of road; time triallists – you can keep your fast dual carriageways!

I carried on and picked up the lane that I normally use to get back to Mytholmroyd.

By the time I got back to Hebden Bridge, I’d done exactly 25 miles (40.3 km). It felt harder than usual because I’d made harder efforts on the small hills than I normally would.

I’ve concluded that I won’t actually be doing too many of those loops as loops, but what I will do is spend many happy hours criss-crossing those lanes and hills in whatever combinations take my fancy on any given day. I know about half the lanes well, but I’m going to memorise the others so I can keep track of where I am without having to resort to using a map. The area is small enough that I couldn’t actually get lost, but I could find myself on the wrong side of a 20% climb if I wasn’t careful and I prefer to choose when to tackle that kind of thing, rather than just getting lumbered with it!

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2 Responses to “Road Ride – Checking Out the Loops”

  1. I think we all feel too heavy and unfit when faced with roads like that.

    Thankfully, this means I get to enjoy them for that little bit longer than everyone else!

  2. I still enjoy them, but I remember the ‘skinny summer’ of 2001 when I was about 45 pounds lighter than I am now. I was sprinting up hills like that without even getting out of breath. I don’t want to be quite that skinny again because I overdid it, but it would be great to get about another 35 pounds off.

    I’ve stopped drinking beer until I get myself back to a decent level of fitness, so hopefully I can shed most of that during the rest of 2009. Then it will be a case of keeping it off through the winter, which is something I always struggle with.

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