Today, I was invited out with a local cycling club, Alba Rosa (ARCC) who are a fine bunch of people and very good cyclists.
The plan was to ride a repeat of the route I did on day 2, taking in Norwood Edge and Greenhow. The weather however had other ideas. Once we got to the top of Norwood, the wind and rain had really picked up (despite a promising start to the day) and knowing how exposed the moors are at Greenhow, it was decided to take an alternative, lower route with hopefully more shelter.
We had a brief stop at the top of Norwood Edge to regroup and then enjoyed gusting side winds and hail on the descent to the turn off to Swinsty and Fewston reservoirs. I would say the decision to take an alternative route was the correct one!
The road drops between the reservoirs and then climbs up onto the top of Askwith Moor where we met some other ARCC club members and founder Mr. Jamie Tweddell (who is a very strong cyclist despite insisting on persevering with triathlon) and descended down into Askwith itself.
More rain, more hail and more wind. Along the bottom of the valley towards Ilkley we rode, with a few members peeling off, beaten by the weather (and one with the valid excuse of having tickets to see Jaws at the cinema!)
We persevered onwards to Bolton Abbey with a plan to have a coffee, some cake and discuss what to do next at the Cavendish Tea Room. That place has the biggest flapjacks I have ever seen. So big that I didn’t even have to use my emergency banana or muesli bar! A huge improvement over yesterday, I have to say.
The general consensus was that we should head in the general direction of home as it was cold, wet, miserable and we had cycled a reasonable distance already so we rode back towards the main road and went in exactly the opposite direction up the A59. It turns out that there’s an ‘interesting’ hill that we had to climb first as it’s a popular Strava segment. In true cycling fashion, this cavalier attitude towards the weather was rewarded with the heaviest hail, strongest winds and biggest gusts of the day.
The hill was indeed interesting and challenging although I doubt my Strava time is anything to speak of (I’ll check later as my phone was still holding up at this point) but it’s certainly a route I’d do again from Long Causeway, up Low Lane and into Draughton. From there there’s a very pleasing descent down the A65 past Chelker Reservoir and then down through Addingham. A pleasing little ditty from my jersey pocket let me know that my phone had decided it had enough of recording today’s ride.
From here, the rest is mapped on Bikely but it’s a familiar story of simply following the road through Ilkley, by-passing Otley and on into Leeds. A stop at The Stables pub for a couple of celebratory pints of York Guzzler and I was feeling pretty good about the ride. The hard days really are easier with company.
A short ride home and that’s my Festive 500 completed…. Except it isn’t. Once I plotted the rest onto Bikely and added up the distances, I discovered I’m only at 493.6 km so I’ll have to pop out tomorrow to do the final 6.4 km tomorrow.
I was hoping to avoid riding tomorrow but I’ll squeeze it in somehow.
I didn’t take any pictures today but I am told there are some, taken by ARCC’s photographer, of me so I shall see if I can find them. I’ve also kind of given up on gear reviews – I wore the same as yesterday and it all performed exceptionally and I remained comfortable all day.