While Chipps was away playing in the Dales and Surrey (don’t ask) and Sim and the usual weekend Calderdale crew were out on the local trails, Dave headed off to the Dales too but with a birthday treat in mind…
It’s Sharon’s birthday today (Happy Birthday Sharon!) so as is traditional we headed away for the weekend to celebrate it on two wheels. After slogging away trying to ignore the attrition of trail conditions and weather, I was relieved when she suggested a change to ‘cross bikes and road rides for the weekend. I’ve been busy making plans for summer and I want to make sure we’ve plenty of miles under our belts before we head to the Dolomites again.
Despite the promise of a change in the weather it’s fair to say Friday wasn’t a day to ride for the views. Instead we found ourselves spinning up Ribblesdale in low level clag with a need for lights at 11am and a determination to get to the cafe and get it done. Needless to say I only took one photo.
Still at least it wasn’t cold.
Saturday dawns with a better outlook and only the odd bit of clag still clinging to the distant Bowland Fells. Which is where we’ve decided to head to. So with the Garmin clipped in on the top tube we head out with the hope that it’ll improve while we’re on the road.
As usual when out on the crosser I can’t help but keep pushing harder, rather than think about the distance we’ve planned to cover and pacing myself. After trudging through the resistance of soft ground on the mountain bike, the seduction of a bit of speed and smooth’ish tarmac is too good not to keep it in the big ring.
The roads between Settle and Clapham are a pleasant set of undulations which provide the opportunity to stretch the legs and get into a decent cadence and rhythm ready for the climb up onto Bowland Knotts. Steady away, tap it out, as our Matt would say. As we’re heading up it’s looking better weather wise too as the cloud lifts and I swear at one point you can almost make out a weak sun through one thinner patch of cloud.
Off the front of Bowland Knotts it’s all downhill to Gisburn Forest. It’s a fast pedally descent and it’s easy to overcook it into the bends as you start to drop past the first farm (erm, probably, ahem). I’m trying to make the most of our effort on the climb but need to keep an eye out for the point where we’re going to pop into the forest to grab a bit of off road and the odd bit of mountain bike trail.
This is what I like about ‘cross bikes; the versatility to crack on and really cover distance when on the road but still be able to mix up a ride with a bit of off road if the opportunity arises. After a 45 minute detour through the forest we pop out by the Dog and Partridge in Tosside and start the return leg of the ride.
More undulating backroads get us back to the van. Ride done, birthday weekend done. Legs feeling suitably spanked. Two more good rides in the 2013 bag.
Meanwhile, for one convoluted reason or another, Chipps needed to be riding test bikes in the Yorkshire Dales on Saturday and in the Surrey Hills on Sunday. He reckons he might just have erred on the right side of driving time vs saddle time in doing so.
So how did your weekend go then?