A bit of a windy affair!
Our February offering was to be an easy-going ride from Markse on Saturday followed by a bog trot over Bowes on Sunday. However, we had already earned frequent flier miles at Marske and the only taker was Dr Richard whose first and only ride of the year had been Marske so we changed the venue to Richmond. Our start point coincided with the road section so we had a quick huddle in the car park before setting off into the biting cold wind on our respective jaunts.
We headed off over Applegarth which was pretty solid under wheel but tough going due to the head wind. We were then rewarded with a helpful tailwind up Clapgate and over the racecourse. Our route was the familiar circumnavigation of Richmond via Olliver Farm and over to Easby via the donkeys, where we stopped for a quick hello and nose tickle. Along the river and to the station for an ice cream and coffee; job done.
Sunday’s ride also moved from Bowes to reliable Reeth as we thought the going would be just a bit too tough on the moors. As we left Melsonby there was a glimmer of sunshine and a gentle breeze so we thought we were in for a decent day out. Not so! Arriving in Reeth the wind was picking up on its way to gaining 50mph and the rain had started. JB, Simon and Mark G were not to be persuaded to ‘go home’ so off we set. We headed to Healaugh and up the road climb to ‘get it out of the way’; what a joy with a gusting headwind. JB used it as an opportunity for interval training and I used it as an opportunity for walking training! As the wind was so strong we had to change plans and headed back down to the road and up towards Askrigg and onto Harkerside. This was surprisingly ‘better’ due to the shelter offered by the walls on either side. Once we got the wind behind us and onto the double-track, things got interesting in a different way altogether. The wind was so strong it was like having a motor; the problem was the bikes didn’t always go where you wanted them to. On the way to the shooting hut Mark abandoned his bike and dived into the heather while I was forced to walk while my bike flew; the back end lifting off the ground with the force. We took shelter in the hut (2nd time in 2 weeks) then braved the final leg of the return journey. This was great fun and also very challenging; trying to control your bike on rocky singletrack with that wind is no mean feat. We finished off on Gamekeepers before settling into Dales to laugh about what we had been doing. 12 hard won miles – thank you for playing.
Judith and Steven