Getting too old for weekends like this but at least the weather was a blessing. Grimpy's new experimental road race circuit got mainly a thumbs up from the few that rode it - just 14 in my ABC event and 16 in the D's and older.
Basically it was a head wind grind from Scammonden to Buckstones, fast descent down Nont Sarahs & to the Dam wall, a flat rattle along the wall and then a painfull heave up the service road to the finish point, not forgetting the stinging little ramp that puts you back on the Scammonden Road. Repeat another 4 times.
Our race split on the first lap and I was with 5 others at the front. After one lap my legs decided this early tempo was just over my limit and I dropped off to be eventually caught by 3 others, finishing 6th and 3rd of the C category.
Grimpy and the Club are very grateful to the helpers that turned out, many of the Imps and the Condor 'old guard'.
I shared a birthday with my brother earlier in the week so it was probably right I shared in his mechanical misfortunes yesterday. I persuaded Mr. Dwarty to meet me for the Etape, unfortunately I didn't see Chris Smith at the start who was down to ride.
The organisers insisted on despatching us in groups which, as well as causing long delays, meant we were fighting past slower riders on the narrow roads from Grassington. As my rear tyre caught an unseen rock I commented to John that I had managed to puncture before Kettlewell one year - only to get that sinking feeling as my tyre deflated, just 2 miles out.
We were soon back on the road, in with a group from the Hudds Star Wheelers, to the Hawes feed where we pushed on over Buttertubs. Catching a slower rider on the bends near the bottom of the descent I braked hard and my front tyre instantly emptied itself of air. As I cursed and started to change it John came back up to join me, dismounting to the gentle hiss of his own rear tyre deflating. Now down to just one tube between us and the gas cartridges long gone we were hoping that was it, but on the climb from Long Row Johns rear tyre blew again. Closer inspection revealed a dislodged rim tape but by now we were deflated ourselves and settled on a steady ride round enjoying the sun and scenery, gratefully collecting more spare tubes (and sandwiches) from the event support at Tan Hill.
A landslide had caused a route change, going straight on at Tan Hill to take a lovely route into Kirby Stephen and out to Nateby. With a head wind all the way to Stainforth it was tough going and John was spent as I pushed on over to Halton Gill finishing in 7hrs 8 mins - almost an hour slower than last year.
It was a great atmosphere at the finish, enjoying a pint and a sausage butty whilst making our excuses and meeting up with Chris Sylge who was also flying the Condor flag.
I hope we'll hear how Chis Smith enjoyed his day, and talking of hard riding distance men, a mention for Paul Ward who I think lives Mirfield way. He rode out to Grassington, rode round in a little over 6 hours and, thanks to the Strava spy, rode back via Cockhill to clock 201 miles. Hardman.