Yo Wheelers, so that was the long awaited Frodsham Wheelers Malham Weekender!
And what a great weekend it was, both knackering and joyful, great club bonding in a stunning location
Myself and 7 fellow Wheelers braved a fierce headwind for the ride out to Malham on a wonderful sunny Friday (cue right arm tan!). A very enjoyable ride it was, at a very sensible pace in readiness for the brutal Saturday ride. Gladly it was uneventful, after a brief stop at ‘Geddes’ shop in Whiston for slight adjustments, a couple of punctures and Di almost becoming impaled on a spiky gate! We found a great caff in Ribchester on the beautiful River Ribble and the lads actually drank them out of Peroni!!! (OK, they only had 3 bottles).
The group rolled into Malham bang on target and after a quick shower we moved to the Buck Inn for our preparatory meal and erm… ride briefing…. The nice team at The Buck Inn had allocated us a private room, so after some changes in décor a nice cosy night ensued, quite a few beers, gins, you name it were quaffed but the sensible contingent returned for an early night remembering what lay in store.
8.30am Saturday and after a very hearty breakfast our group 18 strong rolled out (very sorry to say Rob Cowell could not join us as someone had sabotaged his cabling, David Arundale fell foul to a dose of Majorcan Flu and Ciaran Pickering also had to bail).
What a start to an all day ride…. 20 yards warm up followed by Official UK best climb #47 – Malham Cove (3rd Cat) – a tough start – ramps up to 21%.… after a very brief respite across windy moorland a second climb followed – Brootes Lane (4th Cat) 1km at 9% and the tone was well and truly set for the day.
What followed was a wonderful ‘out and back’ to Threshfield, beautiful Grassington before the 3rd climb of the day to Newbiggin – Cote de Cray (4th Cat) again into a powerful headwind before the U-Turn and the ride into Hawes for lunch.
Gary Hartley enjoyed ‘hitting the 50mph!
Well Hawes seemed to be in the midst of a Biker’s reunion, but the service in the Penny Garth Café was excellent and the method of space creation (telling someone to sling their hook – ‘we got customers’) was very effective.
OK, so 2 more Cat 4 climbs and we arrive on Newby Head – well folks….call me weird, but the B6255 from Hawes to Ingleton is probably the sexiest road have ridden in the UK……a 20mph tailwind helps, but picture this…empty roads (all my club mates had disappeared in the distance) Ingleborough peak to the left, Whernside to the right, the world famous Ribblehead Viaduct ahead. Simply stunning. We were all on an absolute high (Gary Hartley enjoyed ‘hitting the 50mph!) and we continued to enjoy the tailwind for the next 15 miles and the miles ticked over.
At Quernmore the grins turned to grimaces as we tackled the Jubilee Tower climb (3rd Cat) 3km at 6% but it was despatched (Matthew Burke you thief!) and we enjoyed the great views to The Irish Sea and Lake District whilst struggling to stand in the gale force wind.
Next followed the Trough of Bowland and the speedy descent to Dunsop Bridge for café #2. Well it was here that there was a suggestion that there were a few tired legs and we may want to split into 2 groups – the ‘quick’ 117 miler or the 117 miler incorporating an extra ‘killer climb’ so we decided to ride together to Long Preston where we would split. The route was sapping and it was on the climb out of Slaidburn (another Cat4!) that there was an audible POP!!!
Dev Devaney hit the mother and father of all bonks. We were 20 miles from home and making very slow progress when we stumbled across The Dog and Partridge’ and Dev did not take much persuading to seek shelter….we took note of the co-ordinates and promised to return to pick up ‘Mr 99.8’.
At Long Preston the group split and headed for home. My group rolled into Settle fearing the worst after my ‘hype up’ of High Hill Lane (3rd Cat) which we tackled after 105 miles. Well I hadn’t hyped it..it was hellish as Chris Fowler can testify after a serious bout of cramp.
Anyway we all made it home and (eventually) Stephen Wright collected Dev (Kudos Steven) and we all prepared for a farewell booze up. Another terrific night followed. What a great bunch, great humour (Dev Devaney took it well, Gary Hartley gave it well).
Sunday morning and we said our goodbyes. A hardy group of 6 rolled out for the ride home (very fast now the headwind had become a tailie)..(cue tan left arm) and all looked poised for a 2pm arrival time. This was before Stuart Lloyd suffered puncture 2 just before Parbold.
After a lengthy stop (where I made the error of sitting on the grass and being bitten to bit by midgies) we prepared to roll out when ‘psssssssh’ – a failed repair and some botched rim tape meant change #3 and after a tirade of expletives from Mr L we rolled home…after of course deciding to ‘Throw in the Beacon’ …not a twiddle either…..me and Mr Fowler bleeding out of our eyes after duelling to the top.
A wonderful weekend
My total stats for the weekend – 278 Miles – 6386m of ascent!
Severely chapped lips after riding into the wind (I can’t be the only one) and tender buttocks 🙁
Sincere thanks to each and every one of you who joined me to make this such an enjoyable event. All rode hard, OK we were a bit scruffy at times (going uphill…I’m hoarse!) but all rode considerately and to the best of their ability – roll on D2D.
Kudos to Alan Orme, Danny Emmett, Brigid Wilde, Dianne Turner, Stuart Lloyd, Ryan Jackson (survived a ‘bonk’ from Parbold!), Mark Hewitson, Gary Hartley, Chris Fowler (plenty of time on the front as always!), Stephen Wright, Brian Boyle, Stuart Lundstrom, ‘Young Dan Loftus‘ (New member #talented), Dev Devaney (going down in folklore 🙂 ), Gaz Minnis (ride of the weekend for me – rode all 3 days – dug deep – getting stronger at the finish), Kevin Sales.
Next year being planned… I may seek a B&B where I can stretch my legs in bed!!!!!