Wednesday, October 20, 2010
I'm having loads of problems trying to upload a report - looks like all the narrative from my previous attempt has disappeared leaving just the photos - so here goes I'll try again -
Although reservations had been expressed about the severity of the route over 20 souls turned up outside the Rooster at mid-day last Saturday to take part in the Etape' du 'Alifax Pave' . Mounts ranged from MTB's ridden by Andy Brown and Fabian Purdy to the lightest carbon road bikes shod with the latest trick wheels.After a photo call at the bottom of Brighouse Wood Lane the flag went down and it was every man for himself (which was'nt really the intention). The peloton split after about 50 yards with the usual suspects, Dom, Mel, Mick etc plus a new face to me , Andy (who having heard that the ride was about 35 miles had said he would be home for 3pm).
We regrouped at Hipperholme before making our way to Stump Cross and up The Hough to Northowram, then down past the Shibden Mill Inn and up Shibden Wall. As we rode up I suggested to the current British Veterans 100 mile champion and record holder that we should take it easy saving something for the later climbs. "I don't need to," replied Brian, "I won't be there."
Showers of rain in the morning had worried me, more for the cobbled descents than the climbs, but the sun was now shining and the pave was dry(ish). Down Churn Milk Lane, through Ovenden and over to Long Can where we met Ian and Nigel. Gibb Lane up to Mount Tabot was the next major climb - it does'nt get any easier but the fat tyres on my Croix de Fer rode the gaps between the cobbles well. Unfortunately I can't report on activity at the front up these climbs - I was'nt there. Down Halifax Lane to Luddenden village and up the 'Hors Categorie' Old Lane towards Midgley. I stopped at the bottom to count riders through. Two were missing, the Lion of Flanders and Andy Brown, I retraced through the village to no avail so I attacked the climb and was pleased to make it to the top, last week whilst on a recce' I had been unable to keep traction on the mossy cobbles and ended up walking. Steve arrived from a different direction a short time later but uncharacteristically Andy had given up and gone home.
Through Midgley and along Heights Road in the sunshine as far as the Hare & Hounds then down for a cafe stop at Hebden Bridge. The 'Ladies that Lunch' section (Ian, Mel, Dom & Fabian) went into town searching for skinny latties and paninni's whilst us normal folk went to Books Brews and Biscuits next to the cycle re-cycle workshop on the canal bank.After an hour or so we went on the main road to Luddenden Foot at about 40mph turning right and slowing down a bit for Blackwood Hall Road (another cobbled climb I was unable to ride up last week but sailed up today - last week I had to pull myself up using the hand rail).
Sadly, after re-grouping at the top of this climb our raison d'etre for the ride, Team sw2f, quietly retired, I hope this was not due to the eagerness to make progress being shown by the front riders but fear that may have been the cause. If so I apologise on their behalf and if you ever wish to make another attempt I will be happy to ride round with you.
However there was a route to be completed so it was on through Hubberton, past the Alma at Cottonstones and turn left at the Beehive down to Ripponden. Over the cobbled bridge and up Old Ripponden Bank, up Gallows Pole Hill and left at the Moorcock. Brian and Lumby retired here the nearby pull of home being too great.
Round Sowerby Bridge and towards Copley where left up Birdcage (Dom had had enough by this time and headed back to the Rooster taking with him Dan the Italian Stallion who was worried that perspiration may drip on to his immaculate outfit should he attempt
Trooper Lane). Over Manor Heath and down Shaw Lane and the Hebble Trail to Salterhebble. Up Exley Bank then, just for fun, up Pheobe Lane and down Whitegate before the coup de grace, Trooper Lane.
This is what the big guns had been waiting for. The first attack went as early as Swan Bank where 'The Angel of Birstall', this week riding for La Vie Claire, on a stripped down titanium speed machine was first to attack but was matched by 'Already over an hour late home' Andy, and 'The Condor' himself, Mel. From what I was able to see from a rapidly increasing distance Mel had eventually to give way to younger legs. Whilst 'The Angel' made it to the summit first, sadly, he had been disqualified for persistent pavement cycling up earlier climbs (yes we know thats what they do in Belgium in the Spring Classics, they also put mayonnaise on their chips in Belgium but we dont do either in Halifax).
So, subject to the results of a dope test, Late Home Andy is the 2010 'King of the 'Alifax Pave'.
I understand that 10 finished the full 37 mile route and we averaged a speedy 10 and a half mph