Saturday, 15 June 2013

Slaidburn to Carlisle

78 miles total ascent 2103 metres
Max speed 44 mph

Today started under some very dark skies, windy and heavy cold rain. The temptation to stay in bed was high but ...bed us for riding off into the tempest was the only option.

We got about a mile before riding became unbearable and had to take cover under a tree...then the sun came out for half a mile before the hail storm hit. So it went on hail rain sun, hail rain Sun.
The climbs came right from the off today. Leaving Slaidburn the route headed out across the Yorkshire dales, which are very 'lumpy'. Up up and more up, long drags and lots of short sharp hills , all in hail and cold winds.
The views were worth the pain though. This part of the world is beautiful and it was hard not to stop all the time to take pictures.
My brakes were wearing thin on the sharp descents and the bike took a serious pounding on the really bad road surfaces around here.
The road surfaced up north have been consistently terrible in places. Riding with 120psi over such surfaces is giving me a derrierre problem!
The climbs became steeper and I was walking up a few to be honest, rather that than bigger up my knee or snap a chain...being 6'4" has its drawbacks on a bike.
Then just as the hills were getting silly, they just got ridiculous. The long climb of the day was upon us...up up up up and over the dales, stunning views made the climb memorable, so did the cold wind.
Stopping occasionally to rest and take pictures I was glad I was doing this , beats sitting around in the rain where I live!
The sheep were everywhere, and very few cars even bothered to try the climb thankfully.
The downhill was totally brilliant! Fast ans furious as by then the wind was in my favor as well as the gradient. Here I was worried about how much rubber I had left on my brake pads!
I filmed the descent on my head cam.
40 miles of climbing in cold wet conditions meant food was in order.
I grabbed a sandwich at a supermarket by which time the rain had eased off. My legs were glad of a few moments rest, after all they have been turning almost non stop for a week .
Reaching Penrith saw me heading for the bike shop to get brake pads and a new bar end bung. Then it was a 20 mile dash into Carlisle, mercifully the gods of cycling once again provided a tailwind which was just as well because my legs were getting weakervafter all that climbing on bad road surfaces earlier.
Finding the hostel proved tough. Towns always suck to navigate around on a bike, especially when tired and cold, at rush hour when the numpties are on full on aggressive mood after work.
But here I am in the student halls of residence in Carlisle. Kev cooked some pasta , I washed up and have finally found how to get online here.
There us always so much to do when you finish a ride on a tour like this. You still gave to shop, cook, wash clothes, dry clothes, eat, book accommodation for the next night, do the blog and if you are lucky find time to sleep before it all starts again in the morning.
All in all a good ride. Totally exhausted.

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