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Fudge Packer Camp – Day 3

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2 days down, Fegan was without a bike and was heading home, not happy, him OR us, he had pulled his weight for the previous 2 days, when his bike was working !

Dan was heading back, another great person to have around, 2 days of hard riding had paid a heavy price, missed as well.

Due to the rain and hard riding yesterday, noises started before the end of the ride of not travelling all the way to Yorkshire to ride in the rain but by the end of the Fred we made a decision buoyed by the weather at the end of the ride and a good bowl of chilli, we would be up by 7am to be on the road to Grasdale to ride the sportive Etape du Dales

This is a 110 mile sportive taking in 5 climbs up to 500m and totalling around 8000-8500ft of climbing.

We started at a pub called the Moorcock Inn at Garsdale Head which turned out to be an inspired choice.

The downside is the steepest climb on the route called the coal road, an infamous brute was 5 minutes into the ride, school boy error but it got us warmed up. We knew the climbing wasn’t going to be as harsh today but we were not on a flat ride, however the mood was good and it became apparent the idea was to work together and stay together for as long as possible. Ribblehead and Silverdale climbs came and went and we were soon into the area near the official start at Grassington. 40 miles covered, coffee break called for. Tiffin and Lemon Drizzle cake were also on the menu nom nom !

Grassington High St

Refuelled we were off again and the bonus was now we were heading north the wind was behind, plenty of back roads to ride today, it truely was an amazing day to be riding in the Yorkshire hills.

The next hill at Fleet Moss was a gruelling climb. Another picture opportunity to let the others catchup, I had come in a close 3rd behind the Meenan machinen and Gordon.

The climb had a decent that was worth the whole weekend, an AWESOME drop into Gayle which I managed 62.4mph top speed, closely followed by Adam at 59.5mph and the rest lifting all of their high limits a few mph. It was also the last time Lee walked down a steep part, we talked him into using his brakes for the rest of the day, poor lad, he was one of the few that was responding to the training immediately, his climbing was great today but his descending hadn’t followed the same pattern. He is doing an ultra in Poland later in the year, has a 2.50 marathon pb at Snowdonia ! and a 31.15 10k pb, now on a bike and killing it up the hills too, engine made of granite !!

This brought us into Hawes which looked a great village, loads of bikers, bunting, fish and chips and we just sailed straight through. ‘Bodybag’ John (he is 110 – and decided by the end of the weekend he might end up in one !) riding his 20kg Peugeot was splitting off here and taking in a good 70 instead of the whole route, we waved bye, maybe feeling a little jealous and cracked on.

Mechanicals had been few and far between today so we decided to have 2 at exactly the same time, as we started the climb up Buttertubs I had a slow puncture (its getting expensive in gas cannisters) and Gordon snapped a bladed spoke on his rear wheel, seeing as it only had about 12 spokes in total that led to a few issues in the true running of the wheel, brakes released he was off again and rode this comedy wheel for the next 40 miles with one good brake still staying up towards the front. Not having a rear brake did mean you could have cooked an egg off his front wheel rim though, rather him than me.

This is the sort of thing that greets you regularly, the barriers can be a little bit disconcerting.

Adam ready for the off

I think of all the climbs Tan Hill was the most anticipated, the highest pub in Great Britain meant at least some climbing even though we were starting at nearly 300m after Turf Moor it was very open and exposed and we were now against the wind, it also started getting a bit silly, myself, Adam, Gordon (still wobbling) and the ‘machinen’ were going thru and off and trying to make mini breaks – uphill and into the wind ! Myself and Meenan broke first but after seeing the 3.5 mile sign to the top eased off a little and chatted, but still pushing to find weaknesses in each other (sneaky), Gordon caught us up and claimed a false KOM before the Tan Hill pub !

We re stocked on coke and chocolate and regrouped, a few more pictures and then set off on the last big hit to Lambs Moss.

Tan Hill Pub

Meenan, Me and Adam.

Lambs Moss was a cruise compared to the last few hours but the bonus was the descent into Nateby, 45mph+ for a few minutes, excellent cruising, only punctuated by the sheep dotted on the road and not knowing which direction they were going to run when you got there, the adults not so bad, the lambs were a bit skittish and on a few occasions it got a bit cat and mouse, not a good thing at that speed but thankfully no ‘offs’ today.

The last 10 miles to the Moorcroft Pub we were accompanied by ‘bodybag’ John in the Phoenix CC support car, although not close enough to get a draft we TT’ed back to try to get under 7 hours, hard riding we shelled all but myself, Meenan and Gordon 5 miles out and set off for the sanctuary of the pub, as soon as it was sighted, shouts of relief as the rain started and a good handshake, superb ride, great hard effort and great bunch of lads to do it with.

Garmin data

SRM data

As I said before, the pub was an inspired start/finish. Excellent food, cold Guinness and iPhone chargers too. And to top it off the Phoenix CC boys paid for it as it was their turn to make dinner, thanks lads.

Tomorrow we have decided to head to Warrington to help the southerners get a jump on the traffic but ride from mine and do one of my 60-70 mile loops around the lanes of Cheshire, I will try to keep it flattish but it would be rude not to take them to Alderley Edge and up the Swiss Hill cobbles lol !!

Swiss Hill

For now, ciao.

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