We'd been looking after our niece last week and after dropping her off back home Cath was keen to get some longer rides done. More specifically: "Let's do a 100 miler".
A bit of fiddling around on MapMyRide I got one worked out over roads that we hadn't done much riding over. The one problem was that it went over two watersheds before heading back over those same watersheds to get home.
A reasonably early on Friday start saw us on our way up Wharfedale readying ourselves for the first climb, which happened to be the easiest, over Kidstones to Bishopdale. It's a long steady climb with just the last couple of hundred metres steepening up. Then it's a blast down the dale to our first cafe stop in Aysgarth.
The next leg was to head over Redmire to Reeth then up Swaledale before beginning the return journey via Oxnop Scar. The climb up from Redmire is long but again steady with just one short section of 14%, there's a few false summits though if you don't know the road. Swaledale is my favourite dale and the ride from Reeth to the foot of the climb back out of the valley was surprisingly quiet of traffic - there were nearly as many cyclists. I've ridden over Oxnop Scar before but in the opposite direction, all I can remember is an undulating section near the top and some steep bends at the bottom.
The bottom section is much, much, steeper than I remember it and I'm forced on to the wrong side of the lane to get round one left hander. The upper part is much easier though the last few hundred metres steepen up a bit. Once back in Wensleydale we keep to the north side of the dale to reach Hawes and our next cafe stop.
I'd managed to get Cath over Oxnop by saying it was harder than our next climb - Fleet Moss. Now we'd find out. She managed the first section OK but struggled on the final bit of the main climb.
All that was left was the long descent down to Buckden and then back down Wharfedale. Except as we were riding through Skipton, we had an encounter with a driver who attempted to overtake us when there was oncoming traffic and then behaved aggressively towards us. I was annoyed enough that I noted the license plate and reported it to the police. As it happens they would only take it further if we were willing to go to court. All I was wanting was for them "to have a word", as it is, the driver's record has been tagged in case of future incidents. One incident to spoil a great day.
On Saturday I had a 100Km blast with Andy and Iain. Well they had a blast, I was hanging on for grim death! By the time we got to Halton Gill we'd only been going an hour, so now for the big climb of the day over to Stainforth, again I was behind the other two but post ride analysis (Strava) showed I'd ridden it in a personal best by three minutes :-)
After a loop round by Austwick we headed for a cafe in Settle. Iain needed to get back quick so went back via the A65 while Andy and I went the long way via the back lanes. All in all a hard session and it took a while to recover.
Monday I managed to get a ride done that I'd been meaning to do for a while. We got the first train from Skipton up to Kirkby Stephen and then headed back south.
First up was Lamps Moss, I'd ridden down this on the Etape du Dales in May, the Etape being the reason I'd wanted to do this as a training ride to get some hills in. Steep at first then a series of ramps with flatter sections to get a breather. The biggest flat section is just before the final ramp which although not as steep as the first section but quite a bit longer and I'm panting hard by the top.
The drop in to Swaledale is long and not all downhill but before too long we are at the foot of the next climb of the day - Buttertubs. Again I'd done this in the other direction on the Etape so new territory. The first section is fairly steep but rideable whilst seated and then there's an easier section past a barn before the road ramps up and it's out of the saddle for the zig-zags before a long blast past the Buttertubs themselves before the final steepening gets to the summit.
It's a blast down to Hawes - Fleet Moss looms large across the valley - same cafe stop as before. Once we got going again it's not quite so much of a struggle for Cath as the previous effort. We still aren't halfway but we have the three big climbs out of the way and we have the usual run-in back down the valley to Skipton, just time for an ice-cream in Kettlewell though.
So some good hard cycling done. Now need to recharge my batteries. :-)