The Skipton Sherpa

Well somewhat after the event here’s what happened on the last rides of last season (and remember it was a short season due to my not getting a bike until August). Cav and Lance (that’s Kev & Lee to you) planned to bag two consecutive days of 50 miles per day. It doesn’t sound much but it is within the bounds of steady sensible training.

Now bear in mind that it was October 31st when we set off. We represented the two extremes of inexperience, the boy racer (Cav) in his short sleeved shirt and bib shorts using my small hydro pack as his luggage (for the night out), with the old timer (Lance) replete with panniers and handle bar bag (already attired in multiple layers). My drinks, gels and drugs (all legal), toolkit, spare tubes, navigation kit, phones, music and video camera were safely clipped on or stashed and we were good to go.

First stop one mile in. Well you’ve got to make some initial adjustments haven’t you.

Cav pushed on as though we were in a road race. Not for speed as such but viewing any breaks I requested as wimping out. Lance senior saw tea and scones with butter jam and cream as essential fuel (who wants to consume frickin’ gels all the way?).

The last hour was testing especially up “foggy hill” (that’s not the correct name – maybe it’s “fog hill” but it’s all a distant memory now). It was getting dark by the time we arrived in Skipton but all was well.

The shower in the hotel and the pizza with beers were excellent. Sleep came all too soon.

The return journey turned just over 50 miles into 62.5 as we did an unplanned ‘foggy hill’ loop (twice) before defecting to the A65 (a very big mistake for all you traffic haters). Once back in the Yorkshire Dales proper I was fooled again by the Garmin (well a chap has to learn to interpret these things rather than just following a pointy arrow you know) but we were essentially going the right way as it happens and were soon cruising close to Hawes.

November 1st 2015 was the hottest November day since records began and it was like the best summer’s day you ever had. Truly stunning. Which was just as well for the boy Cav because if it had been a typical November day he would have frozen his saddle pack for sure.

I wish I hadn’t discovered the faulty camera on my iPhone on this trip as we witnessed the most spectacular cloud inversion over a viaduct deep in a valley from the top of a steep descent.

A cup of tea and ice cream at Dent gave me a false sense of energy because the last 12 miles from Sedbergh (pretty much all ascent) was painful in the nether regions and the legs. The last mile climb to Hill View was a struggle.

It was one of the best weekends I’ve had and I look forward to many more like it.

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