The first CCC Good Friday ride was greeted by misty and cool conditions in Harrogate this morning, despite the slightly later start time. A few of the gang had already done 25 miles out around Lower Nidderdale and spirits were high for the day that lay ahead. It was also good to see a record number of members for a club run.
The plan was to take a steady run out to Masham, before the fun and games began with climbs over Lofthouse and Greenhow.
We left Harrogate and headed down into Knaresborough, before then making for Farnham, Bishop Monkton and Ripon. The initial pace was quite sedate compared to recent rides, but it was good to get the legs warmed up for what lay ahead. From Ripon, we then made for Galphay, Kirkby Malzeard and on to Masham through Grewelthorpe. As three of us were leaving the peleton at Masham, we had a quick coffee and cake stop at Suncatchers (which was in the shade).
After the quick re-fuel, it was then back onto our steeds to head out of Masham, towards Fearby and Leighton. The road eventually started kicking up with a couple of digs that registered 20% on the GPS. This split the group up a fair bit, but we continued up on the moorland. The sunshine was set on full by now, and the countryside around us was simply stunning. It was briefly interrupted by a brain-dead biker who decided to hurl abuse at us, but other than that it was a joy to be their under our own steam. We re-grouped at the top of Lofthouse Summit, where Alex went ahead to film the descent. We then descended very quickly down into Lofthouse, where we said good bye to Paul, (Darrel had a puncture on the descent – probably from the heat of his rims under braking) and had lunch at How Stean Cafe. Great beans on toast, which even made Malcolm happy!
After lunch, we set off to be stopped almost immediately by Karl who had the second puncture of the day. The ride down through Nidderdale to Pateley was fairly brisk, but as we got closer to Pateley, the peleton quietened with the thought of Greenhow. We opted for the ascent from Bewerley on the quiet back lane. This was brutal, with the first part of the climb being steep and relentless. Halfway up, James had the third puncture of the day, but this was a tyre blowout, which needed a bit patching to avoid him getting the bus home! After a bit of puncture repair DIY, we carried on to the summit of Greenhow and made our return to Harrogate along Duck Street, Menwith, Hampsthwaite and Knox Mill.
When back in Harrogate,with some heavy legs, we made for our favourite Cafe Rosso, to raise a glass of Peroni to what was a great day out on the bike. You really can’t beat the part of the world we live in for some great cycling, especially when the sun is out!!
View the route: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/80785496