2008 HCA RELIABILITY RIDE - THE CONDOR SQUAD AT THE START
This is about the last I saw of them untill the Pineberry some 6 hours later. Grimpy and I tried to sneak off from the start outside the Ritz quietly, but unfortunatly by Brookfoot were towing a heafty weight of riders behind us. We stayed at the front till the top of Salterhebble then moved over. Melvin & Damien went through upping the pace by 2mph, they opened a small gap, the followers upped the pace to close the gap and I went off the back. I watched them dissappear in to the distance through Norton Tower & Mount Tabor, they were out of sight by Wainstalls. It began to rain, by Withens it was pouring down. I stopped to cape up and then teamed up with John Lancaster from Hudds Star over Fly Flatts, through Oxenhope, Keighley & Steeton where we caught Peter from the Imps.
Riding along the Aire Valley several riders, riders with reputations such as Dicko and Birdy had been beaten by the weather conditions and were spotted forlornly limping back towards Keighley.
At Crosshills we passed Grimpy, he'd been discarded by the bunch and left by himself at the roadside in the pouring rain with a puncture, it was a sad sight to see the British Champion & Worlds bronze medalist looking so frail and dejected, but I suppose thats what happens in the HCA ride.
We rode together through Gargrave and Hetton to Cracoe where Lanc & Peter happily announced that they had entered the 70 mile route, turned right and left me to plough my lonely furrow towards Kettlewell.
Just after the short climb beyond the Skirfare bridge I saw the lead group heading south at the other side of the dale, they were single file, obviously still giving it big licks and about 15 minutes ahead of me. I had hoped that they may take a comfort stop at Kettlewell (perhaps they had), anyway there was no catching them now.
Through Kettlewell and down to Grassington, Burnsall and Bolton Bridge. By Addingham I was feeling the effects of bonk. I had to engage the granny ring for Cringles, what a relief it was to freewheel down to Silsden. 2pm, Silsden, 5.5 hour time limit = half an hour to get over Robin Hood, Micklethwaite, Cottingley, Sandy Lane and Egypt................more like 3 and a half hours in the state I was in ...............so I packed.............limped to the Pineberry where I was too weak to get to the bar, Ian took pity on me and supplied a pint of liquid recovery drink.
I was surprised how fresh Ian and Lumby looked, I'm sure they can't have done all the 85 mile route.
I don't know just how the ride unravelled at the front, I gather from the chat in the pub that Damien sneaked away when Martin punctured near Prune Park but he was chased down by Melvin who took maximum points.............next year I hope to be around to see.
Neil and John Doherty finished at about the same time as me, Neil sporting an ear to ear smile having entered the 85 in 6 1/2 but qualifying for the 5 1/2 hour certificate.