Road Ride – Spring Into The Dales 2010

It doesn’t seem like a year since I was reporting on SITD 2009, but there you go.

As soon as I got up I could tell that it was going to be a cooler day than yesterday. That suited me because yesterday’s hot sunny conditions were a little too warm. We are only just out of the recent cold weather and I don’t seem to have acclimatised to the heat yet!

I wore a lightweight gilet, a long-sleeved base layer, light jersey and shorts plus arm and leg warmers. That was a flexible combination which meant I could adjust to changing conditions on the ride. As it it turned out, there were times when I felt a bit cool on descents and other times when I got a bit hot on climbs but overall I was comfortable.

I rode round to Salem Mill near Hebden Bridge Co-op at about 08:30. I picked up my brevet card and went back outside to chat to a few people that I knew and to find my partners for the ride – zacklaws, Rammylad and Alun off the CycleChat forum. ‘Uncle Phil’ was supposed to come along too but I couldn’t see him. He must have set off before us because we never encountered him on the way and he got back to the finish before us.

We set off at the back of the field at just after 09:00 and did a very steady climb of the Keighley Road, Alun and I at the rear and zacklaws and Rammylad going on ahead.

It was a pretty straightforward ride over to the first audax control at Earby. By the time we got there, most of the food had been consumed by the cycling ‘gannets’ who had preceded us. We managed to find a few biscuits and set off again after a short stop.

We had just set off along the busy A56 towards Thornton-in-Craven when a stupid old couple in a red car tried overtaking us with an oncoming vehicle coming straight at them. They started to pull back in and were about to sideswipe Rammylad who responded with some appropriate words which I won’t repeat here! Apparently, a rather sheepish female passenger waved at him as if to say “Hello, don’t worry – we weren’t going to hit you!” Scary stuff – ‘Spot the braincell!’ 😯

Fortunately, we only spend a few minutes on that stretch of road before turning left onto the B6252 and then right for West Marton.

There always seems to be an event on in that area on the same day as SITD and as usual we encountered cyclists racing the other way with numbers pinned to their cycling kit. I thought that it was a time trial but it seems to have been the bike leg of the Skipton Triathlon. The riders were a mixed lot. Some looked very serious, riding racing bikes with tri-bars. Others were on MTBs. Just one thing though – if you are trying to ride fast, your efforts to get aero down on your tri-bars are completely nullified by wearing an unzipped wind jacket which is flapping in the wind! 😉

It wasn’t long before we got to Gargrave where we got our cards stamped and had a short break. I’m a bit hard-up so I didn’t fancy paying £1.60 for an ice cream but that didn’t put my companions off. I made do with a can of Coke and some biscuits that I’d brought along from the stop at Earby. I have to say though – the ice creams did look rather yummy!

We rode on towards Burnsall and had started climbing the nice singletrack lane between Cracoe and Thorpe when somone spotted that there were still lines of snow along the west-facing slopes of the big hills in the distance. Blimey, winter really doesn’t want to let go this year! To be honest, there was a chilly north-westerly breeze blowing most of the day. The skies had clouded over, as forecast, but the showers mentioned for mid-afternoon never materialised.

We did a rapid descent to the B6160 and turned right for Burnsall. We were just coming into the village, Alun leading me, when a young woman let her dog out of the car and it ran straight out in front of Alun. It was a black and white Jack Russell named Buster. I can tell you that because it stuck in mind that Buster almost got busted! Alun didn’t miss the dog by much and I braked and swerved around it. All this time the woman and her companions were making half hearted attempts to call the dog back. Aaargh! Alun would have made a right mess of the dog if he’d hit it and would probably have crashed and made a right mess of himself too. If you’ve got a dog, please keep it under control next to roads, folks!

We had a short stop at Burnsall where I refilled my drinks bottles and took a picture of us standing on the village green, next to the bridge over the river Wharfe.

Burnsall village green. L-R Alun, ColinJ, Rammylad, zacklaws
Burnsall village green (L-R: Alun, ColinJ, Rammylad, zacklaws)

(Note to self – still obviously carrying far too many pounds!)

We rode off through Appletreewick and I immediately spotted a cyclist walking his bike along the lane. As I got closer I saw that he had a flat rear tyre so I asked if he needed any help. He said that he’d forgotten to bring spare tubes or a repair kit so he was going to find a suitable spot to wait and phone for a lift home. I said that we could sort him out and Alun fished out a glueless patch for him to use. He looked a bit sheepish and thanked us and we set off on our way.

You know what – I reckon the man was still going to phone for that lift! I’m sure that he had made his mind up not to bother trying to sort himself out. I know it isn’t any of my business, but I think that attitude is pretty selfish and it’s also pretty stupid. Out in the Yorkshire Dales there will be many places where a mobile phone won’t get a signal and it could be miles to a call box. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst! Okay, ‘the worst’ could be something like an asteroid landing on your ahead and carrying a spare tube won’t help you with that, nor would it get you out in one piece from under a 30 ton truck. I’ll rephrase – ‘Hope for the best but prepare for common problems!’ – okay? 😉

Ah, the spooky tree – I kept meaning to take a picture of that and this time I remembered!

Spooky tree
Spooky tree, Spooky Cyclists!

We proceeded along the lane above the Wharfe and came to a steep little climb which had us scrambling for lower gears – Zack didn’t make it! He fluffed his change and his chain got jammed up, bringing his bike to a sudden standstill. I watched him topple sideways and take a heavy fall, and narrowly missing tumbing down the hillside towards the river. Amazingly, he didn’t seem to have damaged himself or his bike and was able to stand up, sort out his gear/chain problem and be on his way in a matter of seconds.

We crossed the Wharfe by Cavendish Pavilion where we stopped to use the public toilets. We picked up another cyclist there. Hang on – perhaps I’d better rephrase that! 😳 Er, when we were ready to set off again another cyclist approached us and asked if we doing SITD. We said we were and he said that he was lost and asked if could he come along with us. We said yes, of course, and he rode with us as far as Keighley.

Once again, I enjoyed the variation introduced in last year’s SITD from Bolton Abbey to Halton East, and up through Draughton to Draughton Moor.

We enjoyed a quick blast down to Silsden and across the busy A629 to Steeton, then along the B6265 into Keighley and the final intermediate control at Rossi’s cafe. Our unknown companion made a brief stop and went on ahead of us. We bought some refreshments and polished them off in front of the cafe.

Funnily enough, we all spotted the same thing at the same time – this…

Cycling Club House
They don’t make club houses like that any more!

I had an annoying bout of cramp in my left foot, a problem which I suffer from fairly frequently. Fortunately it calmed down before we set off and it didn’t flare up again.

There was the usual heavy traffic on the draggy climb from Keighley to Cross Roads. Hey, what can you do? SITD is the only time that I ever ride that stretch of road. It’s a pity that it isn’t a nice country lane because the gradient is ideally suited to me. Even at my current weight and tired, I don’t find it too bad. Fit – I could romp up it!

Zacklaws and Rammylad gradually pulled away from Alun and myself and we didn’t see them again until we got back to HQ. Alun and I were pacing ourselves but I think it’s fair to say that we were both glad to get to the summit of Cock Hill. We decided not to go straight back to Salem Mill. Alun decided to pack his bike away in his car and walk round there and I’d drop mine off at home, quickly get changed and meet the lads as soon as I could.

We were among the last riders back but there was still plenty to eat. I tucked in and chatted to my companions for a while before they set off for home. Me? I decided to just have another couple of sandwiches and a second coffee…

I enjoyed my day out. It was 111 hilly kms (69 miles). I felt pretty tired afterwards though and that has got me worried about next weekend’s extended Brian Robinson Challenge which will be 50% longer! 😯

Be Sociable, Share!

7 Responses to “Road Ride – Spring Into The Dales 2010”

  1. Top report Colin,glad it went well for you,best of luck on the Brian Robinson next Sunday.

  2. I’m feeling very nervous about it! I know how hard the actual route itself is and the extra trips to and from Huddersfield are going to take it well over 100 miles and add about 1,500 ft of extra climbing.

    That’s just reminded me… Alun was complaining about play in his rear wheel bearings on SITD. I checked, and sure enough, we could rock his wheel several mm side to side. I went to demonstrate what it should be like by doing the same to my rear wheel and it was 50% worse! I should really change the bearings and put some new grease in before Saturday.

  3. Sounds a lovely day!

  4. Bloody Hell Colin, the picture in front of the tree makes me look like an Ork with a couple of elves out for a days bike ride.

  5. @trio – Yes, another fun day out on the bikes, though my body didn’t entirely agree with my mind! I was pretty sore yesterday but I don’t feel too bad today so I might go out for a 2 hour delayed recovery ride.

    That lot are a bunch of jokers. They come out with some pretty funny remarks. (As you can see from Nigel/zacklaws’ comment above!)

    @Nigel – Ho ho, I see what you mean! The tree was bigger than it looked so I had to shrink the picture down to make it fit. I tried cropping the picture to make you guys look normal size but the remains of the tree didn’t look that spooky.

    The picture of me by the bridge at Burnsall makes me look about 5 months pregnant! 😳

  6. The Brian Robinson Challenge isn’t extended it just feels like it towards the end

  7. Hi Martyn – I see my fame has spread – the power of Google Alerts perhaps?

    Yes – The Brian Robinson Challenge isn’t extended – it’s the same route as last year, however My Brian Robinson Challenge most defintely is extended! 😉

    Last year I got a lift to Huddersfield but this year I am cycling from Hebden Bridge to Huddersfield via the climb out of Greetland, and I’ll have to cycle back again afterwards. That will add 56 km and about 450 m of climbing to my little day out (35 miles, 1,500 ft).

    The fact the unextended BRC feels extended at the end is what is worrying me! I’ll have already extended it before it starts and then when I’m tired, I’ll extend it some more… When I get back to Sowerby Bridge, I’ll get on The Calder Valley Cycleway. It means that I’ll be able to crawl along a nice quiet route home without worrying about the traffic.

    I know that about 110 miles of hilly West Yorkshire wouldn’t worry some folks but I was knackered after the 69 miles of SITD so I’m going to be really exhausted on Sunday evening. Still, it’s all good clean fun isn’t it!

Leave a Reply