What a ride. Never wanted to give up so much on something this much for a long time. But determination and perseverance got me through. 60kms. 1000m of climb. Snow. Ice. Wind. Doesn’t sound nice does it? Well it wasn’t.
I’m being unkind. The route took me to Dalby Forest, along the forest drive and then through the moors and back down to the plains. It was supposed to be a nice ride, scenic. It kinda was too. I did my research and the route looked ok, there were hills on the map but they didn’t look particularly bad.
The weather was forecast to be snow and I had anticipated snow and ice on the roads tho had hoped they would be largely clear.
The first hill came when leaving Thornton-le-dale, a lovely little village but at the bottom of a hill that the forest sat on top of. This 15% climb was tough and I spent some time of it out of the saddle. In my mind, once I got up on the moors then there wouldn’t much in terms of contours. How wrong was I?
I entered the forest drive and immediately hit a head wind. I’d thought being in a forest I’d be sheltered. Oh no. I ended up heading straight into a valley, losing the height I’d gained coming out of thr village. The snow was lying by the side of the road but the Tarmac was smooth and free of snow so I was able to get some speed. That was until I reached a climb. I was slowly climbing out of the valley through trees and came to a clearing. The wind was cutting into me and it was difficult to keep any speed up.
This was the beginning of the first climb. It was another 15% climb winding its way up. The snow was beginning to lie here and I was trying to keep to the tyre marks where the snow was slush. I made it to the top. Huffing and puffing.
I continued along and came to a steep steep downhill. Ice was still across the road and I had both brakes on. It was tough as I couldn’t go fast down in fear of hitting ice and flying off my bike. This downhill must have lasted for 300m and I the end i was having to hold onto the brakes from the drops and was actually sitting on the top bar!
There were two more climbs similar to this. I exited the forest and the road headed off north where I was sure it should have been going south. I checked the map and I was on the right track but hadn’t gone as far as I had expected.
I eventually was on normal roads but it was undulating, short steep downs followed by short steep ups. I got to the turn point and noticed the way I’d chosen went up again, the other way meant a longer ride though. I ended up going the shorter way and headed straight up this long enduring climb. I was passed by a couple of cars and the snow was starting to lie again. Once up, there was another steep fall. Again the brakes were fully applied as the ice had formed across the road.
In the distance I could see the road ahead. It was winding up the hill. At this point I was at a low and shouted in frustration.
Once at the bottom the road started to wind up again. Passing over a cattle grid. I decided that I couldn’t get over the cattle grid as I wasn’t going fast and the grid was broken. Hopping off I went through the gate over mud. Unbeknown to me I had got mud in my cleats and when I hopped back on I took a few pedals and was making the way up the hill when one of the cleats came undone and I fell off. Ouch. In the middle of the road. Fed up, I got back on. And started pushing up the hill. Now gettin late and tiring I got over the brow of the hill straight into that head wind. Just what I needed on a long drag downhill. I was so done that I took the main road back which wasn’t fun and was undulating too. As I had signal I called and checked in to make sure no search parties were being sent!
Exhausted I got back to the cottage after 2hrs 40. It was tough and the climbs were horrible. The snow didn’t help either. Oh well. Things can only get better.
I guess my failing here was not checking the elevation properly on my planning, also if I had have thought on, a forest renowned for downhill mountain biking may have had its fair share of hills. Also my nutrition wasn’t right before left. 5 pints of ale the night before and a bread and butter sandwich for breakfast really is not good prep!
You live and you learn at least I only have 2 hours left of cycling to do this week!