After being the cause of so much trouble last week I made sure to be at the start early. This meant a prompt start from Denholme for the assembled throng, and we picked up the three more waiting in Keighley with no fuss at all. Pete & Brian soon had us through Crosshills and on toward Cowling, handing over to Grimpy and Andy for another a long pull. I did a very short stint on the front on a downhill stretch toward Laneshaw Bridge but, knowing that there were plenty of eager legs waiting to come through, felt that I'd better not stay in the way for too long. So I dropped back and tried to hang on for the rest of the ride.
Well I got dropped a couple of times and I was quite pleased to see that Vicar and Pete Horne also hung back just to keep me company. Even Nigel moved to the back of the group on some of the climbs so that he could keep an eye on proceedings- at least I assume that is why he slipped down the string of riders? Andy kindly came back on a couple of occasions to make sure that the stragglers were safely "Marshalled" back into the fold. Thanks lads - much appreciated.
We then dropped down to Whalley to wish Mike Darke a happy 70th birthday. I'm sure the Mytholmroyd crew were "delighted" to see us get to the cafe and pack the place out just seconds before they arrived...
After a bit of a wait while we all got served (but still a highly rated 8.5 points - tasty bacon, good egg, nice fluffy teacake; pleasant service; free coffee refill and a bit of cake - all for just £5!), some riders were keen to get going again. Too keen perhaps as some of the group were still queuing for the only working loo. So after Nigel had ridden up to berate those eager souls we reformed just in time to for Nigel to exchange pleasantries with a charming Volvo driver at some lights.
Now it must be recorded that el Presidente was out to meet the ride yet again and was riding well. Good on yer John. Meanwhile Peter had punctured in Padiham, giving an opportunity for us slower brethren to "just potter on" up the ramps of Burnley bypass and even make a start on Long Causeway. Just as well really because that gave the faster riders chance for a good aerobic workout and we could just about hang on as they caught us for the final couple of rises. That left the slight step up by the Sportsman to contend with and here it was Robin who kindly paced us back on for the final charge down to Mytholm Steeps. A chap waved from a car coming up and from the way that the hand blocked the entire side window it could only have been Bernard.
Now my legs were starting to twinge a bit and a final climb up from Burnley Road to home was just what I needed to finish off another fine ride. Still, you should always finish with a warm-down by going slowly in a small gear - which was just below walking pace in the granny gear in my case.