Craig’s ride up north

What a ride, probably my most audacious yet, certainly this year anyway. The ride start was from Padiham on the outskirts of Burnley and was packed full of climbs. It was the Tan Hill 200 audax. My aim was to get around and just complete it as I knew already that I had a slim chance of finishing the ride in time. I didn’t quite succeed. There would have been 8 massive Lancashire and Yorkshire Dales climbs including 2 ascents of Buttertubs from each side but it wasn’t to be, Buttertubs proved to be too much and I never made it to Tan Hill. But I bagged 6, not bad for a ride in the area.

The first climb came straight out of the starting gate and was a beast, it was the Nick o’ Pendle, on the other side we rode through Clitheroe and climbed again, next up was Waddington Fell which was a bit easier on the legs. After this was the first control at the Riverside tea rooms in Slaidburn, to show how tough this ride was I arrived at the first control 20 mins over time. After refuelling I set off again and next up was the most spectacular climb yet, Ravens Castle. A real narrow mountain road. First 3 climbs done and I was still in Lancashire, but I soon crossed into Yorkshire and the 4th climb which happened to be the easiest, Newby Head. This had its own challenges, the hoards of people parking anywhere they could to go and see the Ribblehead viaduct. Hawes was rather nice and I set about having a 2nd coffee stop simply cos I need the rest in between climbs. Timing had gone out the window anyway as the time I arrived in Hawes (3pm) was the time I should have been at the Tan Hill Inn. This was a turning point though, to get back I had to ride back over Buttertubs to Hawes if I carried on to the Tan Hill Inn. I gave it my best shot but Buttertubs was 16% from the side I was on and that was tough going after the ride I’d done so far, in fact it was the straw that broke the Camels back and when I saw the other side was 25% that made up my mind and I turned around, headed back down to Hawes. By this time it was now 5:45pm and went in search of more food and had sausage and chips from the local chippy. But I still had one more climb to get over yet, the highest of them all Fleet Moss. Another absolute beast with a very steep final ramp to the top. It was every bit like climbing over a wall it was that steep. Ridiculously steep! After that I still had the ride back which was still a fair way but thankfully mostly downhill. The first part coming down from Fleet Moss was through Warfdale which was absolutely beautiful. After a final stop at petrol station near Gargrave I made it back but with 2 very weary legs it was gone past midnight by the time I returned.