Friday 21 August 2015

Day 6 – Dancing in the Pennines

The briefing message from our Ride Leader Martyn concluded with the words “Day 6 is a tough day. Over 6000 ft climbing.” A few of the group had looked at the route profile and had turned a whiter shade of pale. As is sometimes the case, anticipation and reality don't necessarily match each other. But often they do!

The first fun part of the day came at a canal lock crossing where one of the bargees (?) lowered the gates in a devious attempt at guillotining one of our peloton. And she nearly succeeded! Then we faced one of the steepest climbs so far (20%+) which, once we’d all got our breath back, prompted a certain amount of comment – mostly about Martyn's choice of route. Once the climb was behind us we then had a steady roller coaster ride with nothing too challenging.

I received permission to ride off the front of the peloton so that I could say hello to a couple of my sponsors and good friends. So after a fast bit of time trialling I stopped and had a chat for a few minutes before the group came back.

I'm in good company on Hebden Bridge
After a lunch stop at Ray’s Diner (Orange Flavour Malt Loaf is the new ‘in thing’ and very good it is too) we were off again. The climb out of Hebden Bridge was the one that everyone was fearing. In the event I really enjoyed it. It was long and steady, much like the Alpine climbs seen on the Tour de France – only a lot shorter. Phil Liggett, who does Tour commentaries, describes the best climbers as dancing on their pedals. So I did a nifty little foxtrot that Phil would have been proud of.. Well, that’a my view and I'm sticking to it. But the day’s excitement wasn’t quite over because after the climbing comes the descending! My Garmin recorded a maximum speed of nearly 52mph! I literally rode away from all the cars behind me and I think I managed to set off a speed camera. I say “think” because you'll appreciate that at these speeds with only a few millimetres of tyre rubber touching the road, looking over my shoulder to see if the camera really has flashed can be a bit tricky.

Once off the climb it was a fast run through Keighley in the rain to Skipton and our base for the night. The peloton has voted to have a curry tonight – which I may regret tomorrow. Especially as we’re going to be riding over 90 miles!

Miles today 82
Total miles from Land’s End  469 (+ 17)
Miles to John O’Groats  517

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