Pantani had devised a route to Kirkby Lonsdale which mimic'd the Northwest Passage long route. Total would have been around 130 miles but since we only set off around 10.30am that was going to be out of the question and he had a backup plan just in case, it involved taking my train pass!
Route was Tod via Whitworth, then to Burnley and Nelson. Through Blackho into Gisburn and up the A65 towards Kendal. Pete was hating the hills as ever but giving them a good go whilst I was using my new technique to waste as little energy as possible but keep the average speed on the climbs high. The howling head wind on the A65 really screwed around with us and I wanted to turn around but didn't say anything. -2% gradients we slogged it out at 10mph and a 6% climb on the same stretch saw the same speed attained.
There was a little campervan cafe at the Orcaber Lane turn off. I had spam,egg and black pudding buttie and Pete sausage, bacon and egg. It was for the novelty value and to stop the rumbling rather than fuel as it takes ages for my body to convert food into useful stuff. Once that was devoured we entered the head cross wind and the spectacular climb of Keasden Road. It is around 5 miles long of steep gradient and I gave it some welly. I rarely dropped below 9mph on the whole climb even on 9%-10% sections. Totally secluded farmland with views for miles of clear skies and the rolling peaks. Naturally I waited at the top for the navigator and we took the descent to Slaidburn relatively easy as there was another killer climb to come which had even steeper gradients. It started off from Newton and is called Hallgate hill. Its 'only' 2.5miles long but I waited 8 mins at the top for the knackered old man. The only part of the ride where we had a strong tail wind. I was feeling great and on form. Pantani's fitness is coming on leaps and bounds and is finding the 80 miles with lots of climbing easier and easier. He was complaining about back pain from 20 miles onwards.
We finished at Clitheroe and got the train back to Manchester as is was getting dark and late. A quick 9miles home removed anything I had left in the legs. At home I reflected on what was an exceptional ride probably the best I have ridden so far partly due to the effort I was able to put in on the 2 climbs at the end of the ride,the company, the views and the weather.
Average Sp 14.7mph
Max Grad 25.7% :P