No steady saunter round the Dales & Lancashire lanes for some of us - Messrs Thompson & Doherty of our V.S. friends had other ideas.
Off from the gun up the hills out of Halifax just left Dougie, Damian & myself with the V.S. duo and there was no breather until a re-group and re-fuel in Hawes, Pete H and others were arriving as we left.
After another hard & fast leg down Ribblesdale I was grateful that sense prevailed and we enjoyed a welcome sit down in the Naked Man Cafe in Settle.
The next leg through the lanes to Whalley was taken at a more reasonable pace and we caught Richard and a few others at Mitton, who were doing a good job 'pushing on' at the 'tete'.
By now some friction was appearing in the group as Damian refused to take the front, a situation amplified by the fact that we could regularly hear the loud freewheel on his lovely new Zipp wheels, a constant reminder of the easier ride he was having.
Dwarty's patience ran out at Read and the pace went up enough to lose everyone but Chris, myself and the indomitable Damian. It took the slopes of the Burnley by-pass to finally dislodge him with Chris and myself glued to Dwarty's wheel and pulling Voeckler-esque faces with the pain, in any case Damian re-joined us again at the next traffic lights.
A fast bash down the Calder Valley and this being a hot and humid day our old enemy 'The Cramp' was preparing a visit, first for Damian at Ludd. Foot and then Chris at Friendly. In true clubmate style Dwarty and I pushed on for first to the buffet.
7 hours 30 mins. (6 hrs 30 riding time) Fastest 58mph on Fleet Moss.
Richard came in not long afterwards - undecided whether he had enjoyed the day or not - I know the feeling.