On the Coal Road.
So Sundays ride was a nice hilly 200 km Audax round the dales, the weather forecast on Saturday promised sunny intervals and light winds it was looking promising. However waking up 1.30am Sunday morning and looking outside it had been snowing- not so promising.
We arrived at the start in Clitheroe and meet up with Amy (http://trio25.blogspot.co.uk) on her nice new Kinesis for an early start at 7.30- and set off into sleet, rain and more sleet. We managed to make good time to Kettlewell for the first big climb of the day over Park Rash- this was where it started to get interesting, we probably got 3/4’s of the way up before it became unrideable with snow covering the road, this being the point you remember road tyres and snow are not a good combination. So everyone got off and pushed over the top for about a mile till we hit some landrover tracks and could gingerly start the descent to Middleham.
Park Rash- it got worse after this…
After a quick hot choc to warm us up it was off over the tops past the rifle ranges at Leyburn into some sunshine and a nice crosswind, another fast descent took us to Fremmington where we had to stop at the Dales bike centre for a very good coffee and some much needed cake!
Fueled up we rode through Swaledale which is actually quite rolling! before another climb up and over to Nateby and a control stop at the Black Bull pub where the landlady feed us sandwiches- these were much needed as we still had another 84km to go and had just turned into the wind. From Nateby we climbed out the valley and dropped onto the main Sedburgh road – before turning off to climb the Coal road which again due to it’s height was covered in snow. This was mostly rideable if you could manage to stay in the Landrover tracks and still had it in your legs, once over the top the road becomes a steep downhill with lots of twisty turny switchbacks that had us all stopping at the bottom trying to get some feeling back into our hands.
Another ‘rolling’ valley road soon popped us out on the Newby Head pass and from there it was a quick 50 km via Horton in Ribblesdale, Settle and some interesting back roads to the finish.
A long days riding,11 hours though we managed 128 miles, 13,008ft of climbing and probably should have ate more. Big thanks to Amy as always for the company, the mindless chat (between panting up hills) and Haribo’s when needed!