Tuesday, May 31, 2011
The route heads north from Richmond on quiet lanes to bring you over The Stang to Arkengarthdale, then right to Tan Hill for the first check at Keld. At this stage there are a few more wheels to share the work but its still tough going. We catch Dougie and Martin Croft who decide to let us go, obviously trying to enjoy their day out.
Birkdale Moor over to Nateby and we grip the bars tight on the exposed descent - not a day for deep section rims. The wind is kind to Garsdale and then blasts us down to Hawes for the next check.
The 80 mile route goes straight back to Richmond but we turn right up the steep side of Fleet Moss which, thankfully, is reasonably sheltered.
The fun starts down Langstrothdale with the sun coming out and a howling tail wind and I am on my own. After the check at Kettlewell the fun stops because we go over Park Rash with 80 hard miles in the legs - I catch a young guy and persuade him that Gold is still possible so we grind it out together and then fly down Coverdale with the tail wind - fantastic and almost car-free !
Left in Middleham up to Leyburn and then its painfully lumpy over to Swaledale and my legs are complaining. To make matters worse my new friends computer just clicked over 6 hours so he stops working and leaves it to me.
I get my print-out at the HQ showing I managed Gold but I am more in need of the chilli & rice.
This is a well organised event and they allow you the option of chosing the 50 or 80 mile return at the check points - which many chose to do on such a hard day.
Just over 100 riders did the 100 mile event with only 6 inside the 6 hours. I was pleased with 5 hours 48 mins. and 3rd position. The fastest was 12 minutes quicker than me (but the 2nd only 2 seconds quicker !).
Martin Croft 6 hours 21 mins and Dougie Burnside 6 hours 43 for silver.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Gale force winds, hail & rain failed to deter the Condor hard men last Sunday (although it did reduce mileage somewhat). Seven made their way to Hellifield Railway Station cafe via Keighley, Broughton & Airton. On the road to Otterburn, prompted by a downpour, I made the mistake of stopping to don my rainjacket; big mistake, should have known better, the positive was that after several miles battling alone into a fierce headwind it was none other than The Condor himself who dropped back to help me reclaim the comfort of the peloton.
What a star that chap at the cafe is, coping alone he soon delivered steaming teapots and sandwiches stuffed to overflowing with sausages -just the job for hungry athletes.
We were on the road again before mid-day, into gusting, heavy showers on the road to West Marton and Earby. The cunning plan had been to follow in reverse the Spring into the Dales route over Bleara Moor and Black Lane Ends to the Herders and Oxenhope. However, group negligence allowed Robin & Mel to go to the front together and by Thornton-in Craven I had lost the necessary enthusiasm for getting hammered into the ground over that hill out of Earby so I announced that I was going to go around the hill via Foulridge to get to Laneshaw Bridge. Nigel was all for it but Mel and Robin were keen to gain altitude points. I was at the front with Mel at Earby when as expected he turned left for the high road. Ian came alongside me and we battled against head winds and very heavy rain as Ian remarked on how aptly named Foulridge is. At this point I was surprised when Robin came through to the front - he should'nt be there, he'd turned off at Earby with Mel hadn't he?. Glancing back confirmed that only Mel alone had left the safety of the bunch to tackle the high road. Once we got to Laneshaw Bridge we caught sight of Mel a few hundred yards up the Herders Climb. Robin shot off like a man possessed and soon caught him, at one point I thought Nigel was also going to chase, but he soon saw sense as we all settled into a more realistic rhythm. Richard was riding well, as he had been all day, Ian's new Dogma was effortlessly floating higher and higher, and Steve, 1st time out for many months due to being busy building a new wing onto Pecket Well Palace, was looking very strong.
We re-grouped over the top and split up at Oxenhope where Richard, Mel and myself were caught up in a torrential downpour going over the Dog & Gun climb, at least it was on our backs, if the others had the same shower it must have been hell riding into it.
Friday, May 20, 2011
I'd suggest a more reasonable potter this week to some nice cafe (ideally with doilies and a tablecloth) for cake and a pot of tea. Locally. In the sunshine. Lets meet 9am Denholme & 9:30 Keighley.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Even opting for knee-lengths and long sleeves it looked like overshoes and gloves were in order - rolling out with Neil and Robin, Grimpy having failed to re-appear after confessing to some difficulties in the toilet department. Richard elected to do his own ride and 'enjoy' it. Joining us was Roger Palfreeman who some may remember from his early days in Calderdale - his close encounter at speed with a sheep down Blackstone Edge was a memory that kept coming back on some of the days hairy descents.
Despite the cold and wind it wasn't bad on the road with Fleet Moss, Buttertubs and Low Row not so exposed to it. Tan Hill got harder as we dragged the usual accumulated group of 20 or so up that long and exposed hideous road.
Despite making a quick stop at Tan Hill for a sarnie we were cold by Keld and faced the delights of Birkdale Moor as a light rain started. At this point Robins legs decided to give out and he silently disappeared. We expected his appearance at Nateby after his usual manic descending but with no sign - and also no reports of an incident, we pushed on with Roger who set a blistering pace up to Garsdale as the wind came to our backs.
Thankfully Roger caught his wife at the feed station and opted to ride back with her so Neil and I tackled the Coal Road in the mist and rain with Neil now complaining about cramp, amongst numerous other things. Through the mist I could see Peeps in front climbing strongly so I pushed on,
hoping that under 7 hours was still possible for a Gold.
The wind was kinder down Ribblesdale and a belting tail wind over to Halton Gill and down Littlondale helped me back faster than last year with Neil in not far behind for Gold as well.
Robin rode back with Roger and wife - and Roger, being a sport doctor explained that Robin's leg problems were due to him running in a race last weekend - I don't think that diagnosis required a doctor !
Nice to see Pete and Mick Collins at the finish - they had a civilised ride to Feizor Tea Room - now that seems a wise way to spend a Sunday !
Fastest - Harrogate Nova Trio - 6.20
Mel - 6.41.39 14th / Neil - 6.49.07 23rd
Robin - 7.07.20 / Peeps - 7.42.18 / Grimpy - 7.48.14 / Richard - 7.54.53
Grimpy's First Sportive - THE TRUE STORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! From the man himself
A bit of a start cock up been up all night unable to go to the loo
Finally made it after long delay at start following signing on and then returning for my tag.
Having missed all the fast star club members I start on my own around 8.05 deciding in my state to see how i feel and if possible enjoy the countryside on roads new to me.
I had leg warmers 2 undervests, a jersey, arm warmers, overshoes & 2 gillets + mits ( no gloves- mistake) but I was still cold.
A number of fastmen passed me and I decided to latch onto a group led by a young roadman from I think a Fred Minter Club?
Bronze legs, shorts looking cool as we approached fleet moss he was overheating so he removes his top jersey on the move whilst wandering from side to side -- I couldn't believe it? Then ahead of us one rider just fell off his bike for no apparent reason maybe he missed a gear
I took it steady down fleet moss and never saw this group again.
As an aside I was surprised the number of riders going back to grassington all the way from fleet moss to buttertubs many just in jerseys & shorts?
I took a short break at Hawes you then climb Buttertubs and at Low Row take a left up the first steep climb.
A few were walking but I managed ok decended to the ford and walk over the bridge.
Then it was upwards & onwards to the top of Tan Hill into the headwind. Dave Smith explained to me a week earlier that it was a long drag, your not kidding.
Stopped for some food waiting in line for promised hot goodies.
But after sometime the queue didn't subside so eventualy i grab a banana and proceeded on my happy way. What a view?
Took it steady down to lower ground the weather began to get better? it started to rain, i stopped at the village before Nateby to gaze at the water cascades ( quite impressive)?
I then latched onto a group with there own support vehicle, the vehicle kept stopping to take action shots asking me to politely piss off which i duly did.
Three miles before Nateby I noted that we entered Cumbria,
At Nateby you turn South to begin the return to Grassington with a nice cross wind and heavier rain (the least scenic section)
I arrived at the Moorcock Inn check point (69 mile ?) to be greated by nice ladies with sandwiches; scoffed them and set off again.
After a short distance the turn off to Garsdale Station appeared --whoops this looks steep, it turn out to be the famous coal road but it was made easier by the tail gale wind.Lots of signs advising you to smile for action picture. Sure enough at the top of the hill through the low cloud a camera man appears with what looked like a home made lens cover i duly smiled and slowed down so he could take two flash actions shots checking he got me I started the steep decent and as usual I was passed by serious descenders.
Up through the viaduct to Newby Head I pass a struggling heavy set guy in blue racing gear and then turn right into the head wind with rain driving straight through me, the temperature seems to be getting lower and I'm freezing.
To my amazement the guy in blue catches me and says do you know Ian Robinson? whoops he's on my wheel for the next few miles and as we take a left at ribblehead he apologises for not being able to come through - most unusual?
After over 60 miles riding on new roads i am am now on familier ground joining the three peaks route to Horton in Ribbledale.
First rise and the man in blue goes backwards I am then joined by a young scouser and we make tracks to Stainforth into more driving rain.
I arrive at Stainforth approached by tag collectors, these guys and girls are quick to take your tag to record your time but don't realise it takes this old bugger a minute to undo his zips to get to the neck holding tag. By this time I am shivering getting and turning blue, so this time its straight off up silverdale and thankfully its a tailwind all the way back.
I arrive at Grassington freezing find my car key with the thought of changing in the car but realise this is bad idea, I instead make it to the changing room to get an excellent HOT shower and at last by blood starts to circulate again and I'm in one piece.
So this is a sportive I guess, excellently organised, a bit like a reliabilty trial, without the need to check directions and with feeding spots.
Though to many its just a group race, well its an experience I hope the next time i'm in a better state an the weather is more like summer.
Can't say its worth £40 but what the hell its for a good cause.
The Condor stars & friends did us pround getting under 7 hours in those conditions - rock on.
Special mention to Neil who says hes only been on is bike twice in 2 weeks and thats on the Thursday pub run. Also to my age group
Dave smith who did i think a 7.30, peeps who only starting riding again seriously 2 years ago? not forgetting Richard who like me went round on his own but unlike me as done less ridding recently
A number of young girls
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Good luck in tomorrows Etape du Dales to Mel, Grimpy, Peeps, Robin, Neil, Dav and possibly Richard (who was going to try to get a late entry) - if the weather stays like it has been today it will sort the men out from the boys. Hoping to see a riders report on the blog tomorrow evening.
If the weathers not too bad I'm going to have a steady potter round the Pocklington Pedal course, a hundred and some mile meandering route round the Yorkshire Wolds - Mel did the Sportive a couple of weeks ago and recommends the route (I understand he was the fastest rider out of about 100 taking part).
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Monday, May 09, 2011
Finding myself in a break of 6 on the first lap I just went with it, until my legs were screaming just too much, not being used to riding at this tempo for so long. The last time up Turbury Lane, as riders started jousting, I decided 6th position wasn't a bad result and sat up to let the pain subside.
My apologies to Pete and others anxiously waiting for me to take the last bend and launch up to the line in first place, like the old days.
Congratulations to fellow Condors- Brian 1st in age group, and Pete Smith and Grimpy third in their groups. I was the only one without a prize.
Next Sunday I am back on more familiar ground, grinding out a hilly 112 miles in the Etape du Dales - no less painfull ! I believe Grimpy has been talked into riding and Robin and Neil are up for it.