It seems to fall on me again, as the Condor correspondent from the 'front' line - well not quite the front. That position was taken by better men than me for most of the ride - mainly Sean.
A strong turn out in Brighouse, which included some very handy looking guys, worryingly suggested that this could turn into another 'Batley Bash'.
The early selection took place on the climb up Sowerby New Road which was taken too fast for the first cimb and it whittled the field down at an early stage.
Despite Robin's and my attempts to take Cock Hill at a steadier pace the inevitable attacks came and by Pecket Well the road was littered with riders in varying levels of pain. Ian can testify to this as we passed him having a gentle saunter up the hill. I got back to Robin before the top, he had clung on longer, taking his body to places it didn't want to go and with the front group gone I was looking forward to a much less painful ride - that I might even enjoy! Imagine my dissapontment when, just after Oxenhope, the group had waited for us to rejoin.
The ups and downs from Connonley to Gargrave were painfully dismissed and then, much to my surprise - and relief, over half the group turned for home declaring they were doing the 'short one' !
Robin also decided to have his own ride home and just 10 or so riders headed for Airton at a more sensible tempo, although the lumpy road to Hetton is uncomfortable at any tempo.
As the wind came to our backs my only worry was surviving the considerable trademark 'stings in the tail' provided by J.Kaye with his usual relish.
The elastic started stretching on the Cow & Calf, and Baildon Moor and by Moorhead Golf Club it had well and truly snapped. Sean danced away with Carl (I think), the unknown fell runner, with Andy R (aka Eric) in pursuit leaving Dwarty and me to grind it out to the Pineberry, finishing around 13.50 and an average just over 17 mph.
In the pub I learned that Nigel had called it a day at Pecket Well - a case of 'Akbar's revenge' from an indian the night before. Surprisingly Neil had also aborted. However several Condor stalwarts had got round, Brian and Grimpy, Pete H looking unblemished after doing the short one and El Presidente was on his way back in.
Now then, anyone for a sedate club run to a nice cafe next Sunday ?!
Hey Mel, good to see the write-up, glad we had someone at the front (or nearly there) to do a report. I had to put up with some criticism for entering the 65miler rather than the 80 but after studying the route, the weather forecast, my knees and my birth certificate I convinced myself that it was the right thing to do - I was right - as I predicted I went straight out of the back going up to Sowerby. I was happy to be alone for most of the way to Gargrave rather than grovel at the back of the bunch although it didn't stop me feeling *******ed by the time I got to Gargrave - the beauty was that I had time so sit in the cafe for an hour, drink tea, eat cakes and chat to other *******ed cyclists before riding back with Everard and Damian for a very enjoyable couple of hours at the Pinebury.
Well done JK for attracting such a good field, I think John said there were almost 70 turned up for the ride and judging from the banter at the finish everyone had enjoyed it.
By the way the 'unknown fellrunner' referred to by Mel is Karl Gray, he's certainly not unknown in fellrunning circles, a winner of many running races and the current Yorkshire Fellrunning Champion - he also got under 6¼ hours in last years Fred Whitton which I suspect is the fastest ever done by a rider from Calderdale - I hope he enjoyed the ride and look forward to seeing him out on local rides again.
I hope that Melvyn still fancies a sedate run to a nice cafe by the time next Sunday comes around, looking at the route sheet for the following weeks Todmorden Loops a more restful Sunday will do everyone good. It would help Danial a lot - especially on the catering side - if you pre-enter, he's set up a web site http://www.todmordenloops.co.uk/ so entries can be made at the press of a button. Whether you pre-enter or not it promises to be a great ride taking you to places you may never have been before.