Yes, it’s that time of year. The picture above shows Paul, Robert and Greg after the finish, and here’s Robert at the start, a foggy 50 metres down the road from Paul, Greg and me.
Here are Paul and Greg, first timers on this event – starting with me from right at the back of the 320 strong field. Everyone was very jolly at this end of the field.
We left Robert to shoot off and finish in under 3 hours, whilst the rest of us took it easy. We had to at the start, as 320 people don’t fit very well onto the narrow lanes, especially when there’s a pile-up going up a steep hill because of so many people dismounting to push.
The field slowly spread out, and I was able to enjoy the fast descent to Mytholmroyd – it’s a bit technical but much easier than in the past – with lots of slower descenders allowing me to pass them.
Soon after that descent, the first checkpoint is reached, near Hebden Bridge, and here Greg is faced with the dilemma of choosing between a drink (from the left) or cake (from the right). I think he managed both, but narrowly avoided causing another pile up!
The conditions were dry, and once the fog had lifted it was sunny. Some time before this checkpoint at Grain Water Bridge, Greg’s exertions from the previous day caught up with him, slowing our progress from here. But not to worry, it was a lovely day to be out on the bikes.
The support was immaculate, as ever, even down to a first aider running up onto Midgley Moor to help a stricken participant. Paul had been just behind him when he fell – so he copped the job of looking after the guy until he’d recovered sufficiently to carry on.
Meanwhile I’d enjoyed the moor in easier conditions than usual and waited at a hairpin bend (pictured below) for Paul, who had been waiting higher up for Greg, who apparently took a few dives himself. They turned up after about 15 minutes, and we managed to get to the end without any further incidents (no cramp for me for a change, probably thanks to the break). We even managed to cycle all the way up the steep final hill without dismounting, encouraged by Robert, who having finished nearly an hour ahead of us, had come back down the hill to Luddenden Foot to meet us.
Having reached the finish, Greg relaxed immediately into what I’ll describe as a ‘Lazy Moment’.
He soon recovered whilst the rest of us went off to stash the bikes, before enjoying a beer in the sun outside the Church Stile Inn. Here we are before that, after enjoying tea and chilli kindly provided by the organisers, and having collected our t-shirts and certificates.
The support is amazing for the modest entry fee of £15, especially as it’s a fund raising event for a local scout group. A big vote of thanks to the organisers.
Here’s the route - 42.5 km (27 miles), 1000 metres ascent, 2-6 hours. (We took rather less than 4 hours, with Robert an hour ahead of us.)
This is the seventh time I’ve cycled in this event since starting ‘Postcard from Timperley’, hence the fairly brief report.
The other reports can be found here, the route description and results summary are here, and there’s a slideshow here (click on the first image and then click ‘slideshow’), mainly pictures of folk who would have finished in three and a half to four hours, descending from Midgley Moor at the point where I was waiting for Paul and Greg.