Yes, it’s that time of year again, and we have the same crew as last year – me, Robert, Paul and Greg. The picture above shows Paul, Greg and Robert at the start.
Robert returned to his bike after he had taken the picture below and started way ahead of the rest of us. We didn’t see him again until near the finish.
You can see that we dress immaculately for this event – apart from me – I seem to be wearing the same clothes that I was in for yesterday’s parkrun! (Two seconds off a PB, very frustrating.)
The most observant will see that I have (temporarily?) retired my 25 year old Shogun bike from the event this year, in favour of nine year old ‘Stumpy’ that I finally got used to riding during my recent TransAlp trip. I must admit that the ride was much smoother with suspension, though I found myself being more hesitant on the technical descent from Midgley Moor. (Maybe that’s an age thing – there were only seven over 60’s in the 292 strong field, two of whom retired.)
As last year, the three of us started gently at the back of the field, leaving Robert to shoot off and complete the course in 2 hours 55 minutes, his fastest time in thirteen attempts.
The field quickly spread out – well, it shot off ahead of us, and I was again able to enjoy the fast descent to Mytholmroyd at my own pace.
Shortly after that descent, the first checkpoint is reached, near Hebden Bridge. I waited for some time for Paul and Greg to appear (I thought Paul was ahead of me but I’d inadvertently passed him). Eventually they turned up.
We agreed that I’d go ahead at my own pace in the fast, dry conditions. Perfect weather for the event.
The marshalling and signage and checkpoints were superb as always. There’s no need for a map on this event, and no chance of leaving the route unless you ignore the signage.
I waited for a while at Grain Water Bridge checkpoint. Cold drinks, bananas, mini Swiss rolls and jelly babies were the favoured foodstuffs of the day, so there was no need to carry any food or water.
I continued over Midgley Moor without incident, though others all around me seemed to be practicing their somersaulting techniques.
As last year, I was encouraged up the final hill by Robert, who had come back down to Luddenden Foot to meet us.
3 hours 29 minutes was my time at what seemed a very gentle pace – a nice morning’s ride, and Paul and Greg pedalled in shortly afterwards, taking 3.44 and 3.47 respectively. The full results are here.
You’ll see that in contrast to last year, when Greg relaxed into a ‘Lazy Moment’ at the finish, this year he was moving so fast that his image is blurred!
After tea, soup and chilli, we adjourned as usual to the Church Stile Inn for beers. Then it was back to collect certificates and buffs (this year’s alternative to t-shirts) before wending our way home.
I can only repeat that the support is amazing for the modest entry fee of £15.75, especially as it’s a fund raising event for a local scout group. A big vote of thanks to the organisers, marshals and support point volunteers. They should be proud in that their standards are much higher than those of many commercially organised events.
Here’s the route - 42.5 km (27 miles), 1000 metres ascent, 2-6 hours. Brilliant paths for mountain biking.
This is the eighth time I’ve cycled in this event since starting ‘Postcard from Timperley’, hence the fairly brief report.
See you then…?