Some months ago Cath signed me up for the "Ride with Brad" 100 mile sportive. This was actually before the start of the Tour de France so not really jumping on any bandwagon. However I'd not really done any long rides so when Skipton CC posted that Sunday's ride was heading over Fleet Moss to Hawes and back via Kidstone Gate I thought I'd better get out and do it.
Six of us set off from Skipton and from the start the speed was high. It didn't look as if any quarter was going to be given. In short order we were at Burnsall where Tim discovered that the rattle on his bike was a loose cassette lockring. With no-one carrying the requisite tool he decided to head home.
Grassington, Conistone and Kettlewell came and went in short order and before long we were on the long drag by the upper Wharfe before the climb proper of Fleet Moss. There's a short intro which begins suddenly with a sharp right hand bend and a couple of hundred metres of 14% before the road drops in to Oughtershaw.
Then the fun begins. Mostly it isn't too bad as there's an easy section to recover after every steep bit. Of course the steepest bit is right at the top where a sharp hairpin forces you on to the opposite side of the road to the easiest angle hereabouts. As I was approaching this a car full of Chinese went past with cameras hanging out of the window. Having not got enough of my wonderful visage they stopped on the summit area and took more shots as I went past! Regrouping on the summit, the Chinese went past then it was time for the fast descent in to Gayle. Except we were now gaining on the Chinese who then proceeded to take shots of us as we descended. Not often you get your own press car whilst on a club ride!
Tea stop in Hawes avoided most of the rain storm that past then it was down to Aysgarth and the climb out of Bishopdale. I wasn't looking forward to this as it feels steep enough in a car. It starts steadily then steepens and steepens until the last few hundred metres are at 16%. I seriously considered getting off and walking but managed to keep going. The descent through Cray and down to Buckden is excellent though.
By now I was getting tired so kept getting dropped. By the time we got to Kilnsey I was just going to hold the others up so they sped back to Skipton. I wasn't that slow on the flat but any slope saw me down to a crawl. A short stop at Rylstone to get an energy gel down me followed by a steady pace to Skipton meant that I managed the steep hill to get back home (another one I really thought I was going to have to walk).
All in all I did 85 miles in 5hrs30 which given the hilliness of it wasn't too bad. Another reasonable length ride next Sunday should see me good for the Sportive.