This ride was planned in advance as I wanted a final big ride before I went to Vegas for 2 weeks where exercise would be extremly minimal unles I can be arsed to use the free gym. Went with Pete for most of the route not long ago and I enjoyed it very much apart from the very busy Woodhead Pass.
The alarm was set for 6am and it looked like it had rained but the sun was starting to shine and the clouds were clearing so I thought fantastic I might be able to actually go out. Set off around 6.30am, everything was set up the night before. I was going to ring Steve F at around 9am as he said he was going to ride with Joe about 10am so after my main run I was hopefully going to join up with them later ( MCC members). Its so refreshing to ride so early, no cars, peaceful, time to think and nothing else to get in the way. Warm and very windy, a swirly kind of wind which hit from all directions which made keeping the bike stable difficult whilst travelling at speed and high up. Unfortunately it felt like there was a constant head wind which ever direction was to be faced. I nearly turned back after 5 miles, not because of the wind, but my kneee was hurting just over the point of being uncomfortable. I thought I would see how it turned out if I took it a little easier and used differing pedalling techniques. Took a good 10 miles to ease up and was able to pedal at a good speed up Holmefirth road. If it wasn't right by the top I was coming straight back down that's if the wind didn't blow me down! I took the fairly level ground easy and made most of the efforts on the hills. Knee seemed ok still so kept on going. I nearly turned back for another reason now, my own safety as the wind had picked up immensly and was so unpredictable I was swerving all over the road trying to keep the bike balanced. The wheels made a nice 'whoooosh' when I pedalled though. I carried on as I really wanted to do this ride. The climb to Holme was hard, very hard. That blasted wind full blast in my face, the descent was worse as I barley ventured over 20mph trying to stay mounted and not end up by a rock down the canyon thing.
Got to Woodhead pass at the bottom and turned back. The first bit was the only part of the day where I would have a constant tail wind and hit 20mph going up a hill. THe climb back up wasn't too bad, just had some steep sections which I didn't expect. Before I hit the top I rang Steve F and he said they were going to Tod and back the same way at 10 so I said I'd meet them somewhere along the way. Not a single cyclist seen , therefore non overtaken and it was 9am! What time do they get up round here? The windy and windy (do I spell them the same?) descent of Holme Moss was a predictably slow 17mph and climbing Holmfirth Rd was one of the worst experiences of my cycing life only because of the wind slowing me down to 5-6mph when the first time I went solo up here I was doing well over 11mph. Looks like I wasn't the only ones struggling though as I saw 3 MTBers pootling very slowly towards the traffic lights near the top of Holmfirth Rd. Average went from 15 to 14.1 mph pretty quickly. Picy was taken on the move and turned out great! Was so gled to descend Holmfirth Rd and saw loadsa cyclist strung out all the way down to the bottom. I was tempted to turn around and get seom overtakes in but my legs needed the well deserved rest, for now anyway. I was at the half way point, exactly 50miles. It looked so easy just to head for home but I had a group to meet up with and a target to meet so kept on going. Knee was holding up very well and didn't have any more problems.
Got back to Oldham and wondered which was was the best to Tod. I ended up taking signs for Saddleworth then down Buckstones rd. I really didn't plan to do anymore hills but seem to fly up that one on about 54-57 miles. Stopped quickly to see where Steve F ( just before Milnrow) he answered the phone! whilst riding? They just turned up Tod Rd so weren't too far off. Took it fairly easy up Kiln Lane, but that one always seems to have me panting by the top and saw a cyclist ahead of me just before Hollingworth lake. Overtook with ease, on straights he was fast but didn't like the hillier bits. He clung to my rear until Tod road where I knew the slight incline would have him struggling to sprinted away at 24mph then back off to 22mph, steeper sections were at 17mph. Didn't think I'd still have the legs after 66miles with no break or food (I wanted to see how much difference food really did make, i do like to experiment) Just going past Walsden gargen centre and a Landrover vehicle pulled along side me and stayed with me, then winded ( not winded :) ) window down. He shouted Mid Cycling club!! and stuck his thumbs up. I think it was Tristan in the passenger seat, MCC yougest member? Got stuck in traffic and the guy I over took 5 miles away thought it was clever to zoom past me. Hardly an achievment? Didn't feel the need the re-overtake as I'd just run into the back of a car so let the t%^%^& have his momnet of glory. Just as I hit Tod I saw Joe and Steve coming towards me back to Walsden so shouted to them I'll turn round and join them.
Good job they turned up, my legs needed a rest. Doesn't it seem harder to go at a slower pace? Having to keep building momentum up? Or was it just my legs telling me to keel over and die? Had a good chin wag on the way to my first stop in Littleborough where we had tea and teacakes. Missed photo opportunity :( totally forgot. Steve was showing off his new £120 cycle computer I would have saved it up to get a Garmin and they discussed their cycling plans. Would they really do some 150-200km audaxes? They said they wanted a couple of weeks to train :). Nice relaxed pace home bringing up the rear. Joe really sprinting up any hills he came across. Only 90miles done when I got home so did my little 10mile circuit to bring the total to 100miles. WOOHOOOO. I can go to Vegas now knowing my cycling shouldn't be too much affected when I return.
Time was just under 6hrs 45ish not including stop( and 2 mobile phone stops)
Average speed was 14.9mph (quite impressed actually considering!)
I learnt that 1.5l of fluid is no where near enough for a 100miler. Probably dont need to take food but I will do just in case. ( I did have a full 12" pizza 6 hrs before the ride) My legs are the answer to perpetual motion (doing sprints after 60+ miles) My first roadie overtake didn't feel as satisfying as I first thought it would but the chase was exciting (but short). I HATE WIND! Especially the head/swirly stuff.