Thanks Gerard - that’s the JWCC bunch at the start of the ride - all looking relatively fresh. It was a different story at the end though!
There were 7 JWCC and two friends - Scott (just back from a weeks training in Majorca) and Glynn who was always going to be good on the hills given can’t have weighed more than 55kg - wet through.
The intention was to ride ‘as a group’ at a very conservative pace. This proved to be a very good decision. Group was intact when after 30 miles or so Linda peeled off to follow the 60 mile route - sterling effort Linda!
After that the fun and games began. I’m sure some of the others will want to add their own experience, but suffice to say that this is a very very hard ride indeed. In a word, brutal. It is every bit as hard as the Fred in my opinion.
Anyway, our policy of keeping the group intact and stopping at the feeds served us well. Everyone was in good spirits with no mechanicals or mishaps (we saw a few which served as a salutary reminder that the course can be dangerous, especially the downhills).
I’d ridden quite a few of these roads before so I had an idea what to expect, but I kept that to myself to preserve morale , as each climb was as hard or harder than the next, with a few 25% sections thrown in for good measure.
We regrouped in Hawes for the last time and had a welcome coffee before tackling the very last climb - Fleet Moss. I hadn’t ridden this before, but Graham had, just the previous day (yes he cycled down!). He told us with a solemn look on his face that it was just as hard as anything we had already done. He wasn't lying.
Overall a great day out, which will no doubt gain epic status in our memories, once we forget about how hard it was.
It was a long day though, with the drive back to Glasgow. With hindsight, staying another night would have been good.
Thanks to all who participated - JWCC and friends.