J.K. promised us a new route for his annual pain-fest, and it didn't disappoint in the pain department. There seemed to be a big turnout in the dry but very cold conditions with a good flock of Condors for the long & shorter routes, although many jerseys I never saw again, notably the Star Wheelers ?
The mass was already fragmented by Queensbury with several traffic lights, junctions and the gradient helping to split things up. We had a fairly large group at the front and kept a steady tempo to Hetton when young Polish Pete (19) thought he was on the Saturday cafe race and ripped it up towards Gargrave. I tried to calm things by suggesting a toilet break at Gargrave (necessary for the more senior riders) but inevitably not everyone stopped which meant a chase over to Broughton and Elslack. We were all back together for just a moment before the long climb inflicted its damage, an out of condition Robin one of the first to raise the white flag.
Around 10 of us started on the Herders and my legs were starting to complain, especially at the thought of what we still had to come. Except Sean, the older riders like myself (and some younger) were sliding back on the climbs but we were all back together at Oxenhope where Andy Marshall said he'd had enough (only to re-think and carry on alone). At the top of Cragg Vale we were down to 8 (Blair Buss vanished) but predictably the final selection took place on Ripponden Bank with Polish Pete, Paul Ward, V.S. Carl (who had won a fell race the day before !?), Sean and a suddenly rejuvenated Mick Collins, who had been sliding back with the old ones earlier, charging over the top not to be seen until the Pub. Myself, 3RT Mark & Dave Leckenby nursed our weary legs up Exley Bank not long after.
Good beer and a nice fire were our reward as riders trickled in, Paul Daly not long behind.
It was a tough but enjoyable day out (Thanks John & Janice).
Now, how about a steady club run with a leisurely cafe stop next Sunday for a change ?