Sunday, 8 May 2011

Rough Rider

Phew! Well that was tougher than expected. Managed to get an entry on the day to the Rough Rider Sportive and elected to go for the 75 mile version.

After a bit of faffing about and realising that I'd got an odd pair of gloves(!) I managed to get away by 9am, about half an hour later than planned, and hoped to avoid the forecast heavy afternoon showers. My schedule was an hour to Dent; another hour to Stainforth; then about two hours to get to Settle and half an hour back to the finish. Perhaps a bit optimistic.

A steady spin over to Ingleton then the first big climb of the day up in to Kingsdale, I got to Valley Entrance in 32 mins and the summit of the climb in about 50 minutes before the really steep drop in to Dentdale with several gates to get through which all seem to be at the foot of the steepest bits. I got to Dent in 1hr 7mins so slightly down on schedule. Turning up the valley and there was an immediate head wind which would be present until Malham. The climb out of Dentdale is steady really until you get to pass under the Settle to Carlisle main line when it kicks up to around 16% in a couple of rises. Of course the wind was in your face as you neared the top of the climb. It was a bit of a struggle to get to the junction at Newby Head but it was then a blast down to Ribblehead though the wind was now a cross wind and made it a bit interesting. Back in to the head wind for the section down to Horton where I pulled in to the food stop in 2hrs 11mins.

So after some lovely (and quite spicy) soup, tea and cake it was back on the bike and down the valley to Stainforth ready for the next big climb. Except it was a struggle even on the flat. Eventually the climb started which isn't as bad as you think it is going to be, even though some riders ahead of me were pushing. At the top of the climb there was the option of turning right on the 60mile course but I decided against it and carried on over to Halton Gill and down Littondale (in to the wind of course) to Arncliff from where another big climb leads over to Malham. By now I was getting pretty tired and I only managed the first third of the climb before getting off and pushing. Perhaps more worryingly the weather had turned and was now driving rain, time to get the waterproof on.

Getting to Malham proved hard work and I hit four hours as I passed Malham Tarn. After a rather nervous descent in to Malham there remained the last big climb over to Settle where I had to push again for a short section. By the time I got to Settle I decided to  stop and grab an energy gel. This made a big difference as I was soon riding well again and the rolling lanes to the SW of the A65 soon went by and I was at the finish in a time of 5hrs44. My cycle computer had 5hrs28 of riding time.

Basically I don't think I ate or drank properly but the strong winds didn't help.

Hopefully the breeze will dry some crags out for cragging today.

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