ManxCat dilly-dallies in the Dales
I had entered The Marcher Audax in Shropshire organised by Andrew Seabourne and was looking forward to the challenge, until my health got the better of me again. I tested a 200km on the island and miserably failed it. As the Marcher Lord is a 3,000m climb Audax, I swapped it for the 100km ride held on the same day. Sometimes things are sent to try us, and by the time the train got booked, I was unable to get the bike on the train as well.
So had to cancel the ride, but unable to get my ferry fees back, I thought I would DIY GPS in Yorkshire instead, then meet eldest daughter and the pair of us cycle home, as her Easter Hols were due.
We had had an odd March weather wise. The island peaked at 19 degrees C! Amazing, and as luck had it, although the forecast was falling, there was to be no wind, little rain and lots of sunshine the weekend I booked my DIY GPS Audax. As my eldest is now at University, and my youngest only has a year before she goes too, finances are tight. So YHA was my accommodation. Cycled from ferry through the beautiful Trough of Bowland, having scaled the dizzy heights of Jubilee Hill outside Lancaster. I was determined not to walk and although it was conquered in granny gear, myself, Enid and 28 pounds of luggage cycled up that hill!
Not stayed at Slaidburn YHA accommodation before. It was fab. A bit old fashioned when comparing it to the likes of Windermere or Penzanze YHA, but I loved it. Heating was off, but the place was cool, it was scrubbed like a pin and it was empty! I was the only female, meaning I slept in an empty dorm. Lashing of hot water and I loved my stay here. Enid was dead chuffed too, cos she had some boys to talk to..... And in their own private stable:
THe ride through the Trough of Bowland was a great ride all by its self. As it was Friday and not the holiday season as yet, there were few cars or other form of traffic. Mostly I saw these guys....
Oh the joys of being ORGANISED!
I usually am very organised when it comes to cycling. Dunno what happened, but instead of sorting out my route to ride on the Saturday from Slaidburn, I ignored that fact, and then suddenly remembered I was doing and Audax about 2 hours on the Thursday night before the following morning ferry! Crikey, still to enter the DIY GPS Audax, I still to sort out a route..... Bike Toaster to the rescue and within 10 minutes I had a 120km route sorted with about 2.0 AAA points. SORTED.
Or so I thought.....
I set off nice and late from the Slaidburn residence, and my bike and I were introduced to the day of work ahead... up, up, up and up we were to cycle on Saturday.
Right through the Forest of Gisburn and out the otherside. Bike Toaster threw in some anomolies. Firstly the route Bike Toaster gave me said it was worth about 2 AAA points, just short of 2,000 m of climbing. The truth was nearer 3,000. Also, and I assume its my fault is this.... Bike Toaster doesnt tell you, when you make mistakes.... and I made a BIGGIE.
I wanted to get from Gisburn Forest to Hawes in the shortest distance, and so punched it in and Bike Toaster recorded it nicely as it does, and then downloaded it into my SATMAP thus:
Thing is... I suppose Bike Toaster is ok not just for road bikes, but off roadies too... and of course SATMAP was originally designed for walkers... to put a finer point to it.. I ended up on the Pennine Bridleway! Poor Enid, she had to learn to try cyclecross, by luck her wheels are Fulcrum Racing 7, which are indeed cyclecross wheels... perhaps just as well.
We plugged on, as luck has had it, the dry weather meant a nice hard surface... But, we were on a route that was not allowed access by bicycles as the signs along it kept reminding me, and incase I should not read the signs, I think out of the 50 or so walkers that day, about 70% of them were keen to keep me updated on this fact! Like I looked like I belonged out there, on my racing bike – dooh! I ended up so embarrassed about my predicament, that Enid and I walked a good part of it, which didnt help my final time very much.
Finally, SATMAP advised me that the DalesWay was going to appear on my left side after the next corner of fell, and I could rejoin tarmac road to Hawes.... Phew.. One more telling off by the people in the above pic, by which time I no longer cared, and I was back on my merry way once more.
Boy, it was good to be on tarmac again. Enid felt like a throughbred cut loose from the tracings of a heavy wagon, and she lept forward and we sped forth – Im not doing a ride like that ever again, I kept on muttering to her as her tyres roared their agreement on the new road surface... fabulous to be moving again. We had a lot of work still to do, and the Pennine Bridleway has wasted ages!
I promised myself lunch in Hardraw, a small hamlet off Hawes. I was supposed to find a certain tea room there, but instead found the Green Dragon pub and as I was starvin hungry and really needing tea, cider and food, I swung Enid against the railings to see this:
After refreshment, the ride stepped up a gear.... a lot more hills were in front of us. After Hawes and Hardraw, my ride was taking us to Dent, and my SATMAP said...'Go left', which worried me when I saw the road quality, incase as before, it simply ran out into dirt track. But a nice van driver assured me, it remained tarmac until Dent... 'Dont go this way lass, na, take the road ahead, its hilly is this way...' Pah I like hills... Boy he was right too. They went up, and up and up. So much so, Im sure the air was noticeably thinner up here! The road took us past Dent train station. I bet there are not too many foot passengers using it, Dent village was some distance away, and although the roads didnt give an indication of the steepness, I had to rest on the way into Dent, to cool my rims! The stink of burning rubber from my brake shoes was horrible!
Finally, the hill peaked at its maximum rise... not far short of 635 meters above sea level! At the top, it rounded nicely to suddenly start is decent towards Dent village. Down, down Enid and I sped along, getting ever faster.... At this point in the picture, I simply had to pull to a complete stop, as my brakes were seriously over heating, I was so pleased to have replaced them the day before my trip in anticipation to hard work in the Dales, this hill would have been dangerous without new pads.
If you see the road streaking away into the distance, that was were I was off to next! Down, down, and further down we hurtled. Finally getting into Dent village. I really love this little place of Yorkshire. Dent is beautiful with its cobbled streets and friendly villagers. I re-loaded with carbos and water before making the meandering route to High Bentham. By this time, I had about 20ish miles left of the Audax, and I was getting tired. Tired of forever going upwards. Cross O Greet was the final hurdle before Slaidburn. Finally, at the 12 mile mark towards Slaidburn, I started to get very very tired and wishing I had a husband to call and collect me. Legs were feeling lead like, and at this point I was glad not to be doing a 200km ride in Shropshire worth 3 AAA points, I know I would not have made that ride.
Finally at 6.30pm, Enid and I rolled free wheeling into Slaidburn, and back to the YHA, where once more I had the place to myself. Once Enid was tucked away, and I was washed and refreshed, I fell into bed for 8pm and fell sound asleep!
Here is my official Garmin info on the day out and about dilly dallying in the Dales...
I am humbly apologising to everyone I encountered on the PennineWay. It WAS the footpath I was on. Here: http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/PennineWay/
I didnt know I might add, that one cannot cycle on a footpath in England, and I wasnt aware that there were separate routes for Bridleway vs Footpath I thought they were one and the same. Its back to the old chestnut of what we can as cyclists and cannot use. Shared pedestrian ways, shared footpaths next to roads.. I really was unware that I shouldnt ride the path ahead, but and rightly so as it turned out, I got plenty of advice letting me know this. I intend to be a lot more careful when doing my planning next time. (glad I wasnt rude back to anyone, I really was the most apologetic cyclist out there that day!)
Here is Enid wagging her metallic finger at me too.
It was a long way back to the main road, and a long way on foot to it too!
(Grovelling to all walkers out there that day)