Sourhall. The double chevrons on the map should have warned riders what to expect but many appeared to be taken by surprise coming to a dead stop in the narrow lane requiring those behind to do likewise. Paul and Lumby had both ridden up in recent weeks whilst on recce's but both were forced to walk on the day. Mel and Chris Taylor were the 1st to the top closely followed by Pete Whiteley and Nigel. After taking a few photo's I began my pursuit over Crown Point, Deerplay & Sharneyford to the Lumbutts Church control where hot drinks. cakes and banana's were supplied. To my surprise the leading riders were still there, 'Oh no,' I thought, 'I hope they're not going to make me ride with them!' My fears were soon dispelled when Mel, Chris & Pete set off. Nigel & Peeps waited for me to finish my drinks and together with Emily, a track racing. time trialling triathlete from the Waterfoot branch of Manchester Wheelers we made up a sociable quartet for the remainder of the event.
Hebden Bridge past Dodnaze to Mt. Skip. From there it was on to Midgely, down to Mytholmroyd and up Crag Vale in to a head wind. Although it had been rather cold and wet at the start we now had clear blue skies, sunshine and magnificent views to take our minds off the hard road ahead. Down to Littleborough and back to Lumbutts Church for more refreshments. Mel & Chris had left but Pete was still there; he had been dropped up Dodnaze and had spent the rest of the 2nd loop trying but failing to make contact and had now decided to call it a day; try as we might we could not dissuade him. I had 2 mugs of tea to wash down several home baked cakes and had just decided to try the coffee and ginger cake next when Emily instructed us that it was time to go. As always we did as we were told and set off down Lumbutts Clough and up to Cross Stone Church. Now it had been a long time since I had been on that road from Cross Stone to Great Rock and the sight of the climb ahead left me whimpering. 'Its not as bad as it looks,' said Nigel - he later apologised for misleading us.
The rest of the route didn't seem too bad after what had gone before - Blackshaw Head - Widdop - Worsthorne and a tail wind to help us over Long Causway (although it did appear to be helping Peeps more than the rest of us - good job he didn't know where he was going). Down through Cross Stone and back to St Mary's Crypt for a 5 star lunch. Mel and Chris had been back ¾ hour (1st back of course although I probably shouldn't mention that, it being a non-competitive event). Paul, John & JK came in about hour later - I'm sure it was a day that will be referred to many times over the coming months, enjoyed by all, thanks once again to Danial and his team.
Don't know whats happened to the photo's - I'll try again later.