Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Ronde 3 - Chris Smith's report

A Crave for the Pave'

Old Lane

I had been looking forward to the Ronde Van Calderdale with its "novel"cobbled climbs for months. Id been told what a hard challenge it was and this made me even keener. But it turned out to be a very eventful event for me.

Less than 1 mile into the route I had a complete blow out to my rear rim. I knew it was irreparable at the roadside so I decided to jog back to the HQ, bike on shoulder, hoping some kind soul would have a spare rear wheel to lend.

I owe a massive thank you to Mark Saddler who not only lent me a wheel, but his cyclocross bike to carry on and tackle the epic course.

Armed with this trusty steed (complete with pannier racks) I knew I was well out of the front bunch but decided to plough on regardless. The cobbles were calling!

Working my way from group to group I negotiated the first loop of this very well signed route. I soon realized that I wasn't the only Condor to have suffered mechanically that day. Mel had hit a patch of scattered glass, and was rapidly repairing. Back together we carried on to soon find that Mels tyre had shredded and was again quiet flat. Being close to the Brighouse feed he suggested I carry on while he did what he
could to patch, ( the same happened to him last year also )

I was soon to realize that Marks bike performed quite well on the rough stuff as I sent it up the cobblestones ( wider tyres, comfy for your ass! )

Counting down the cobbled climbs I was becoming impressed as I was able to ride were most had to resort to dismounting. Old Lane was greasy in places, but steering to the drier areas, maintained traction to get me onward and upward, where Mark Saddler handed over a bannana and commented how good his bike looked (sarcastically).

Jowler, Fly-Flats and Cock Hill. A descent to Sowerby Bridge and the last few of these granite beauties. Here I seemed to be passing riders from all over who had traveled from afar to ride the best of what Yorkshire had to throw at them.

Trooper Lane did what it should and dissolved all but a few of the strongest. 3RTs Dan spurred me on as I maintained some power "Good tempo lad! Keep it up!" The lungs rasped, the legs stabbed and even my voice wavered as I politely shouted at those pushing, simply "COMING THROUGH!" 

With not a lot left in the tank, but not far to go I caught some strong lads and went to the front where I stayed to the HQ.

Here I chatted to Mel who had managed the repair but decided to cut out the Fly-Flats and Cock Hill section. We enjoyed an array of food and drink provided kindly by Asda for the feed stations. And a specially brewed bottle of Ronde Van Calderdale ale. GRAND!

A very eventful event. Cheers Guys.

Chris Smith    

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