There was no fooling the weather this morning – it was a great start to April, albeit a bit on the chilly side, but spirits in the CCC peleton were good with the destination of Pateley Bridge planned.
The gathering outside the school gates at 8.30 was more like a bike catwalk, with some new pieces of carbon on display for the first time this season, alongside some new riders, which were great to see. Today’s route was always going to be a hilly one, so we eased ourselves into the ride by heading out of Harrogate over the packhorse bridge at Knox Mill and onto Hampsthwaite before the first climb of the day up Clint Bank. From here it was on through Shaw Mills and right at the old Drovers Arms. However, just before turning left up Careless House Lane, we were nearly run off the road by some *&^%head, whose life was obviously so precious that being held up for a couple of seconds by a group of cyclists was obviously too much. He even had the audacity to turn his van and block the road so we couldn’t go anywhere. If you ever see a grey van with the reg FL05 ACF – then steer clear!!
So, after that little contra-tent, we made our way up Careless House Lane to Brimham Rocks, before then heading up onto Dallowgill Moor, passing the Sonley Pothole, before turning right at the top of Silverhill. We were then greeted by the most amazing views down onto Gouthwaite Reservoir and Upper Nidderdale. We descended down Silverhill and through Wath, before taking over the Willow Tea Rooms overlooking the Nidd River.
After lots of banter and a re-fuel, the group split into two, with one group heading back down through Nidderdale to Harrogate, with another group having a go up Greenhow Hill. There were a couple of Greenhow virgin’s in the group, but everyone got up 2.4mile climb without any problems. It was then time to be rewarded with a blast down Duck Street, but before we could pick up the speed Nick B popped a spoke. So with that taken care off it was gloves off, with Nick P setting the pace for a very swift return to Harrogate, past Menwith and back into Hampsthwaite, before returning to Harrogate back over the bridge at Knox Mill and some more coffee and cakes at Cafe Rosso.
We were then joined by Dave and Merciless Malc, who head been out TT racing and were also in need of some grub.
A really great morning in the saddle, with some amazing weather and countryside – makes you realise why you took up cycling in the first place!!
44 very hilly miles with over 3,300 ft of climbing for those that took the Greenhow option.