Fleet Moss – Thanks to Pete Flynn for this….
6 months in training and time for Fleet Moss. And as it was such a beautiful, dry spring day – it was time to bring out the Roubaix. I had acquired the bike 4 months previous on ebay. It had cost someone £3,500 new in early 2008, and he had recently upgraded bike with £800 new wheels – evidently perfect for climbing. Mine for £850. Result.
I rode smoothly up the 1:6 by home to leave Nidderdale under a cool spring early morning sun and meet the Cappuccino guys and headed off deep in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. First a steady 5 mile climb to Greenhow and then rolling up and down into Grassington, and through the back road following the River Wharfe up to Kettlewell. And then a steady steep climb up (the back of) Fleet Moss – rated one of the best and steepest climbs in the UK. Thought at one moment I might take the front of our peleton on the climb, until I realised I was deep in anaerobic shock and settled back for grand ascent.
The bike was fantastic, far better than its rider, responsive, wonderfully light and really comfortable. With my new shoes and pedals (I was fully blinged up), transferring power to the wheels was never easier. It is difficult to describe really, it’s that you’re in tune, in sync with the bike and even hard, all-day riding is comfortable and fun. It just feels right.
From Fleet Moss a fast descent into Hawes and then a climb up and out – into a headwind – to the Ribblehead viaduct with its amazing view of the Three Peaks, and then down into Horton for an amazing lunch at a farmhouse – scrambled egg, toast, beans, bacon, tea £3.80! 80km in.
Post lunch, down into Stainforth and then up and over a pass into Littondale and then back into Wharfedale with Pen-y-Ghent on the left and Fountains Fell on the right. One of the finest roads for bike riding you could find.
Back in Grassington for a quick pit stop and then over Dibbles Bridge – for another steep climb on not fresh legs to Stumps Cross Caverns and Greenhow and then home. 8 hours, 4,800 calories expended, 2,600m of climbing, 135km in the legs. Top weather, great company, as much fun as you have on a bike.
Thanks to Malcolm for being our sage and for leading the way (though not for the shorts). For Martin (!) for his ever present smile and for proving new is irrelevant when you can ride. For Dave for demonstrating to us all day his smooth nigh-on-perfect technique. For Luke who gave us a demonstration of toughness and determination – respect. To Karl who showed that being a metrosexual is not inconsistent with top bike riding and to the Roubaix.
By the way, Rule 5 applies. It always applies….