Welcome! For cyclists in Brighouse, Halifax and Calderdale. Training and club runs - with a cafe stop (or two).
It seems a way back, but as it is the last time I rode a bike I can remember just, and I ought leave some comment as it will make a change from Ian always doing it. So Steve and I meet at Peckett Well as usual, so as to get extra hillage in before meeting up with 'the bunch that never waits' on its way through from somewhere that goes by the way of Denholme, a place that is really only ever 'by the way', somewhere to go through without really noticing. The bunch comes through and without stopping Steve, myself, The Condor and someone resembling Kris Kristofferson in his post- Barbara Streisand bust-up days, but who turns out to be Ian, jump on the back. We all get sleeted on. Neil has a rubbish rear mudguard. I complain. Someone complains I have a rubbish rear mudguard. Meantime the rear of Damien's jersey has been visited by a slug falling with the sleet .. one of those minor natural anomalies the religious-minded like to call 'signs' miracles, or someone has ejaculated on his back. Either way his jersey looking a mess from behind. We hit the main road to Skipton. No slowing. No going the back way. Bray on. The Condor is enjoying it. On front is Irish John (as he seems to be known on this blog) and his mate, whose name I cannot remember, so I am going to call him Johnsmate (that's how names started back in the day anyway, so it might catch on). They seem to be going too well for what is early season. John explains a little later he is thinking of entering the Lincoln GP later in the year. The speed begins to make more sense. Through Skipton, then bump along the tardy road to Grassington. Car sounds horn, cyclists raise fingers; cause and effect still in place, the universe is still ticking over despite the credit crisis. We near Grassington and we are faced with a well planned mutiny as a group of three break free from the authority of Captain Speed. Neil, Kriss and Damien flat line their own way to Malham would you know, leaving the Sean, Niall, The Condor, John, Johnsmate, Steve and me to maintain some kind of order. Speed begins to pick up as a kind of gesture to this self willed jettisoning of 'load' from the group hold. Then Johnsmate snaps his HG70. You could say bad riding, but not so. Just rubbish chains. The sleet comes back in time to whiten the dirty puddle in which Johnsmate tries to wash his oily hands. To restore cosmic balance the rest of us take a piss. And so past Kilnsey, then west up to Arncliffe and thence into the chastening embrace of a snow shower as we climb up and over. The Condor and Steve make some kind of pact about defending club honour and send me up the road to try and keep with John and Johnsmate. I am the one with appropriate gear ratios for coping, evidently. Women's gears Damien calls them - he wouldn't be seen dead with anything like these plate-sized cogs on his bike. I hit maximum spin and stay there. No deviation. Johnsmate has not been to this hill before and thinks he spies the top. It looks like the top, but is one of those all too familiar tease-tops that we all experience but never learn from. He sits back down. The snow is rather thick now. The road is white, we are white. Can't see much. We go up by not really looking, until we feel the third cattle grid. Then we wait for a strung out group, terminating in Niall, who appears chipper enough, though also appears without a coat. He must be hard or something. Sean lifts the mood by telling us all it is downhill to Malham now; we have all ridden this route countless times before (apart from Johnsmate)and know this to be crap. The snow has cleared of course. It was waiting for the climb and has spent itself. We tease our way through the limestone, until we hit the cafe. I decide to go on, not wanting to lessen my status as the one who is always wanting to get home. This of course is a mistake because I pop half way up Ingrow, and unable to cope psychologically with losing height down to Oxenhope and then having to re-climb it up Cock Hill, I opt to go back through Denholme, which this time round remains by my way for much longer than usual. My mistake was not, however, as big as Steve's, who stopped at the cafe. Niall had done the sensible thing and phoned mum for a lift home, The Condor had taken himself off onto the lonely heights of some lesser visited dale, leaving Steve to try and fend with the wake of fast disappearing first cats. Hee hee. He eventually did the sensible thing too, and phoned for a lift home. Evidently the mutineers were supposed to have been waiting at the cafe to act as a kind of return home go slow insulation, but for some reason they weren't there. Too dissolute to be let in probably, what with the stains and red neck beards and crap bikes and all.