As Saturdays grim weather was no surprise we were able to dress accordingly with robust wet weather gear. The local grupetto of only 6 contained the V.S. trio of Dwarty, Binman Chris & Eric as well as Padiham Chris and Dave Leckenby who I had travelled out with.
A helpful tail wind to Blacko helped soften the conditions but as we tacked around into the cross headwind on the climb Binman Chris sensed my desire to push-on and he made the move, with the 6 of us now making up the front group.
We didn't hang around in Settle and, trying to retain as much body heat as possible, we fumbled with Audax cards not even taking our gloves off. Taking turns at the front we battled the A65 in the cross headwind. The advantage of tri-bars was well demonstrated by Dave Lec with an instant 10% upping of the speed when he hit the front. I had to protest when the only available shelter for me was on the white line at the back of the resulting echelon.
As tradition dictates we enjoyed a very welcome hot sandwich and brew at Kirby Lonsdale and with the rain almost stopped I rewarded myself the luxury of a dry pair of gloves. Bob from VC167 tagged onto us as we left for a stiff slog down the Lune Valley but after Lancaster the wind was starting to nudge at our backs.
A quick re-fuel at Scorton and we were back to the 6 of us again and on the lumpy road to Longridge the tail wind saw Binman and Eric setting a good pace that had several legs complaining.
Meeting a red light at almost all the junctions around Blackburn allowed us a welcome breather before Haslingden Moor and we were all together for the inevitable 'kicking-off' on Owd Betts with Eric taking the KOM prize. Three of us descended to Rochdale with Eric and Binman dissapointed that my street knowledge couldn't lead them back to the Spring Inn first - but with the new tram system all the roads have changed again and after negotiating a few back streets we found the right road and were joined at a junction by Dwarty and Dave who had come around the ring road.
It was the usual finish around 4 o'clock with Padiham Chris just behind after being out-pedalled on the descent of Owd Betts prompting advice on turbo training or chain gangs to get his legs spinning more !
Once we were out of our wet gear and sat in the pub with a pint and pie it didn't seem like such a bad day after all, as someone said - you are more likely to regret the things you don't do than the things you do.
Lets hope for dry roads for the Imps Reliability on Sunday.