Road Ride – Sourhall, Cross Stone Road

I received a message last week from trio25, a fellow CycleChat forum member who wondered if I fancied organising another hilly forum ride. Trio is in training for a race and wanted to get some hilly miles in, and I am keen to get fit again so it seemed like a great idea. I posted it up on the forum and got a good response. Even the weather was being kind – okay, there was a strong, cold wind blowing but the sun was shining and there was a good chance of it being dry for the ride.

A couple of riders had to drop out at the last minute but Alun, goodspeed, Uncle Phil + Mrs. Uncle Phil, Calum and Bokonon met me in Hebden Bridge and we were about to set off to meet trio in Todmorden when an incoming text message informed us that her rear gear cable had just snapped so she was reluctantly turning round and heading for home.

That was a bit of a downer, especially since trio had wanted this ride organising as training for a race coming up.

We set off for Todmorden and just as we got into town, a familiar shape emerged from a side street – longers on his trusty fixed-wheel bike. He was in the area anyway and had decided to intercept us. He said that he would ride with us for a while and then go off and do his own thing.

We warmed up on the A646 towards Burnley and then took a sharp left at Portsmouth to begin the stiff climb over to Sourhall. I didn’t think longers was going to ride his fixie up that, but of course he did…

We said good bye to longers when our first loop took us back to Todmorden and then we went up the nasty climb of Cross Stone Road. That felt like really hard work, but fortunately there was respite before our route took us up another tough one to Great Rock near Blackshaw Head where we stopped for the traditional group photo.

CycleChatters
CycleChatters

(L-R: Bokonon, Uncle Phil and Mrs.Uncle Phil, ColinJ (I clearly still haven’t mastered the art of setting the camera timer, running back to the group and posing sensibly!), goodspeed, Calum, Alun.)

Every time we went up a steep hill, I got left behind (as is the norm these days), but every time we rode along into a headwind I’d get ahead of the rest. My weight is a disadvantage for climbing but helps me when it is as windy as it was yesterday. I don’t get blown about as much as lighter riders.

We were very lucky with the weather. We had sunny spells all day and I actually started to overheat later in the ride.

As the hills piled up, I began to realise that the original route was going to be a bit too long and hard so we agreed to shorten it. We also decided to stop at Coldwell Activity Centre cafe because it would take us too long to get to Scar Top tearooms and we were getting hungry.

The cafe was pretty busy and we had a long wait to be served but at least I enjoyed my soup, scone and coffee when they eventually arrived.

Trio sent me another text message while we were at the cafe. She’d ridden back to her favourite bike shop (Cooksons) and they had replaced her gear cable for her so she was back in action! She was now riding our route in reverse and hoped to encounter us somewhere along the way. It was going to be a long hard day in the saddle for her. I am not worthy! 😉

Amply refuelled, we set off from Coldwell and after another series of hills met trio by the defunct Herders Arms above Wycoller Country Park. She joined us for the ride back to Hebden Bridge.

There had been rain in the Stanbury area but I only felt a few drops all day. I could see that it was raining on the hills behind Keighley in the distance, but we escaped it. It did produce a spectacular rainbow for us though!

Sheep and a rainbow
The sheep at the end of the rainbow

We said goodbye to goodspeed in Oxenhope and headed up the climb of Cock Hill, the last one of the day. There is a great 7 km descent from the top down to Hebden Bridge which I enjoyed despite the cold headwind.

Calum and Bokonon left us to ride back to Halifax to catch their train to Leeds. (The local trains weren’t running today because of ongoing track repairs.)

Trio still had the ride home to do, but she decided to stick to the valley roads rather than taking the scenic route via Blackstone Edge. Perhaps she is mortal after all! 😉

I clocked what I did at 81.4 km (50.6 miles). Not a huge distance, but the severity of the hills and windy conditions made it feel like hard work at times. I was tired when I got home.

It was nice to meet Uncle Phil and wife Clare, and of course – The Usual Suspects again!

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4 Responses to “Road Ride – Sourhall, Cross Stone Road”

  1. Great ride even if I did do it backwards!

    In the headwind me and Callum were fighting for your wheel!

  2. That’s Lard Power for you! Don’t forget that I’m 50% heavier than either of you but I don’t have 50% larger wind-catching frontal area so descending into a headwind gives me a big advantage. Just the opposite for going up steep hills of course…

  3. The wind on Sunday was a killer.

    I watched some poor chap on a MTB really struggling. He was wobbling all over the place trying to ride into it.

  4. I certainly found going uphill into the wind really hard!

    My 51 miles felt more like 75 when I got home.

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