So my plan yesterday was fairly simple, it was ride day so head out into the dales, hope the weather was good, pick a good route and ride with friends followed by some sofa action and watching the Tour of Flanders. The only snag being that when the alarm went off at 6 I had only had 3 hours kip as I’d got in somewhat late from a fancy dress party where me (as Hunter S Thompson) had perhaps lived up to my character’s personality a bit too closely. Great party though. Tough start to a Sunday.
However it was ride day so I got my sorry carcass out of bed and packed my gear ready for riding ! Incredibly despite the amazing summer weather we have been having it was -1 on the journey up and 0.5 when we started riding which had me questioning the decision to leave the longs behind. The 3 of us layered up as best we good and got pedalling, and remarkably I felt ok and as the cobwebs started to fall away I wondered whether this is the way to ride, fuelled on champagne, fine food and no sleep. Despite the early morning chill the sun was bouncing off the nearby hills as we put in a couple of easy miles before turning off the road.
First up was the farmyard paths heading upwards toward the more remote tracks. As it’s spring classic season on the pro circuit and I was going to be watching the Flanders later I couldn’t help but think that Yorkshire has it’s own version. As you can see by the photo below if you take the middle cobbled path we are in Flanders territory or take the side options and it’s Strade Bianchi but as I was on a mountain bike it was no problem.
Once off these tracks the route properly starts becoming off road, we were now warmed up despite the air still being relatively cold but it was perfect conditions. The dry week previously meant that despite some give on the grassland tracks they were totally smooth and rideable whereas this section can often end up with you simply plunging into the mud.
After swooping across the tracks along the moorland tops there was a very steep climb up to the summit below. Incredibly I was feeling better and better as we were riding and nothing like the hell that I gone through on last weeks ride up in Northumberland legs were strong and I got up the finally climb no problem. In fact I was riding as well as I’ve ever done.
Where’s North from ere !!! The trusty steeds take a breather before the turn for home.
All downhill from here, an exhilarating trail that winds and whoops it’s way back to the valley floor and the flow was with me, all the forces seemed to coalesce and enable me to ride this section better than I’ve done.
Fortunately the end of the run deposited us outside one of the best pubs in Yorkshire and if it’s good enough for Coogan and Brydon then it was definitely good enough for us.
Topped up the champagne with a breakfast of nuts and the black stuff before heading home to watch Boonen rock it over in Belgium (we had more fun though!)
A totally perfect Sunday and perfect ride. The air, light, great company, perfect conditions, magic route put me into some weird zen like state, clearing the mind like nothing else I know can do. So champers and no sleep is clearly the way forward.