Trawden Road Ride – Spring is Almost Here!

So, the weather forecasts were right! Today was a fine sunny day and the temperatures got up to about 14 degrees C, much warmer than the average for this time of year here. I had to get out on my bike and make the most of it. I'd contacted Shaun (CycleChat's bromptonfb) and he agreed to ride over and join me for one of my favourite local hilly road rides to Trawden and back via Widdop.

We met up at about 12:30 and set off up the hill with a gentle tailwind, nothing like the howling gale we experienced on the same route a few weeks ago.

Shaun was on his slick-shod cyclocross bike, and for once was actually wearing ‘proper' cycling apparel! Here's the big fella at the top of the Keighley Road before our descent to Oxenhope.

Shaun, Cock Hill, Oxenhope Moor
Shaun, Cock Hill, Oxenhope Moor

Shaun had been suffering from some pain in his right leg on the way up the climb so we called in at the supermarket in Oxenhope for some painkillers. He reckons he has a touch of sciatica. The pills did the trick and he was riding strongly the rest of the way round the loop.

It was so lovely to be riding in sunshine again and wearing spring cycling kit rather than the heavy-duty winter apparel of the past few rides. My last sunny ride was … (checks) … way back on October 10th 2010 – 4.5 months ago! I really needed this one after the emotional rollercoaster of my mum's illness and death at the end of last year and being cooped up indoors feeling miserable for so long.

I'm still heavy and unfit, but with every ride, I can feel my strength coming back. The hills hurt just a little bit less each time.

Shaun wanted a quick stop at Wycoller Country Park to take a few photographs. Here are a couple …

Wycoller Country Park and a distant Pendle Hill
Wycoller Country Park and a distant Pendle Hill

Atom Panopticon, Wycoller
Atom Panopticon, Wycoller

We continued on our way at an easy pace and made our way round towards the ‘killer hill' at Thursden. We had both intended to walk it, but you know how it is … 😉

Shaun had walked up the second half of the climb on our previous ride round there, saying it was as quick to walk as to ride. True – he could walk up it as fast as I could ride up it, but today he rode the whole thing and proved that he can ride it a lot quicker than he can walk it! I grovelled up behind him, remembering how much easier it used to be, and looking forward to the day when it will be so again.

We made the most of the fast run back to Slack. Widdop Road is soon to be closed for water pipes to be laid so it could be months before we can do this exact route again. I'm not sure how long the closure will last. There is a lot of pressure on the water company to get the work done quickly because some residents of that road will now have to drive 20 miles to take their children to their school less than 3 miles a way, and then do the same in the afternoon to pick them up.

I persuaded Shaun to stop at the Towngate Tearooms in Heptonstall before he rode back home. We had Bakewell tarts and coffees before descending back to the A646 where I said goodbye to him.

31 hilly miles in the sunshine – super!

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