Saturday, 26 March 2011

Is Spring Sprung?

The last week has been lovely and warm, no doubt appreciated by all the new lambs in the fields around us, though this weekend is somewhat cooler. It's also been very dry with several weather stations looking like they are going to have a record dry March.

Last weekend I headed up Wharfedale for a longer bike ride, unfortunately there seemed to be a band of heavy drizzle (certainly no where near rain) in the Cracoe - Grassington area. With a light tail wind I made good progress and got to Kilnsey Crag in under an hour which I hadn't managed before (just one climber looking at the crag and no-one climbing) and it wasn't long until I was at my turning point of Kettlewell. Then it was home along the back lanes on the east of the valley trying to keep out of the wind and avoid the potholes. There were a few other cyclists out along with the usual inconsiderate drivers but it certainly had a pre-season feel to things. The hills to get home felt hard with heavy legs.

Sunday saw us at Crummackdale and in the wind which meant that things were a bit cooler than forecast. The crag lived up to its reputation of excellent routes on the main slab with routes of varying quality and looseness to either side. We all backed off one or more routes, as much to do with this being our first trip out on gear for some time, though one HVS felt anything but - with blind moves and only two pieces of gear (both behind hollow flakes) it didn't feel anything like its advertised grade. In fact Simon top-roped it after I'd led the route to the side and struggled even then! I'm glad we both backed off it.

With the fine weather mid-week I biked in to work on three days with two of those days just needing normal shorts and shirt. This was the first time I've biked to work since before the frosts and snow of last November.

Another long bike ride today - over to Colne, then through Barnoldswick and Gisburn to Bolton by Bowland. This didn't take too long, it was only when I headed towards Hellifield that the wind began to play its part with me struggling to even cycle downhill!! It consequently took nearly an hour to get to Gargrave, then there was just the simple matter of going over the hill to get home. With the steepest gradients of the ride and the wind in my face I wasn't overly happy. I eventually got home in just under three hours, at least I didn't end up horizontal after skidding on diesel like the last time I went round this circuit.

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