Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Etape du Dales or '80 miles of headwind'

That's how most riders described this years event, and bloody cold as well. It was the hardest edition I can remember or perhaps it was just that I suffered more than usual. I started with a local friend but I suspected he would be too strong for me and I waved goodbye to him at the start of Buttertubs. As he rode away with the fast lads I settled down to chewing my handlebars for the next 5 hours or so.
The wind whisked us down Swaledale but Low Row is always painful and after turning for Tan Hill it was almost down to walking speed. I wasn't for hanging around in the freezing gale at Tan Hill to queue for a bottle re-fill so carried on towards Keld where the cross wind threatened to whip the bike away. I passed Chris Smith on the climb over to Nateby as he loyally shepherded his mate 'Stu' round, pity because I could have really done with some help from him !
I re-fuelled at the Moorcock after a vociferous reception from one of the West Pennine lads who was manning the feed station and then ground my way over the Coal Road, finding I still had to pedal hard on the descent to make any progress.
At Stainforth the wind got behind us making the run-in quite enjoyable but I was very relieved to get my sausage butty and a pint in my hand. I also met Chris Sylge, the only other Condor who had braved the day as well as VS's John Doherty and Eric. My time was exactly one hour behind my best, which seemed to be the norm for most. Tough, but a bit of an epic.

Times: Chris Sylge 8.11.27,   Chris Smith & Stu' 8.13.32 (I think),      
Mel 7.12.20.  

(I found some pictures but they are too distressing to publish !)    

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