Me and my lovely wife were off to Huddersfield to see her eldest playing a gig. I had a quick look at the map and realised that it was only approximately 75 miles from Lancaster, so I would cycle there while Helen drove.
I set off via Garstang to say ‘hello’ to friends from Garstang CC, who were doing a rufty tufty route. It appears that many of my friends have road and cross bikes with flat bars, while I appear to have a mountain bike with drops. After a quick chat we went our separate ways, and I soon had my first problem. The road from Longridge to Ribchester was closed. The alternative route wasn’t any longer, but it was a little lumpier. The same thing happened after Whalley, giving me a detour to Sabden, home of the Pendle Witches, which was apt as I had watched two TV programs about the pendle witch trials in the last couple of weeks. This detour again added in more lumps, although the descent into Padiham was great. From there I joined the Leeds to Liverpool canal through Burnley. Another issue here with my route taking me down a flight of steps, and then my Garmin switched off. This has happened before and I’ve ended up losing some of my ride, so I turned it back on, saved the ride up to that point and then restarted it.
I knew that from Burnley the route would get seriously hilly, and I had already done 71.8km with 779m of climbing. Past Turf Moore and then straight up for mile after mile, as I climbed over the moor. Fortunately it wasn’t windy or icy. I took the more direct route down into Hebden Bridge, which is not a descent for the faint hearted, very steep, with plenty of hairpin bends. I was glad I had disc brakes and 2 inch tyres. That particular hill is climb #139 in Simon Warren’s book Another 100 greatest cycling climbs, and is given 10/10 for difficulty. One day I will have to go up it instead of down.
Hebden Bridge was full of traffic so I was pleased to have plotted a route off the main road, and while it was a through road for bikes, it was also more lumpy. After Sowerby Bridge there was another horrific climb before I headed towards Saddleworth Moor. I ducked under the M62 and rode alongside the motorway and the Scammonden Reservoir.
Less than 10 miles to go, a quick text to Helen’s son to let him know I was nearly there and my last gel. It was mostly downhill as well, with a great section through Golcar, into Huddersfield, more dodgy traffic and taking the wrong road a couple more times, and then I was done.
The section from Burnley was only 52km, but had over 1000m of climbing, giving me 124km and 1800m of climbing for the whole day.
A tough day in the saddle, but plenty of the ride was on roads that I had never ridden before and it did give me another 40 explorer tiles from Veloviewer. Oh, and the gig was brilliant, you should keep an eye out for The Orchid Family.