Wednesday, 2 May 2012

On the dole

Well not quite on the dole - but this week I started what could be 11 months of gardening leave.  Lots of my mates have been saying "Take the year off! A year on full pay - it'll be great!".  Two problems with that, lads - firstly a year out of the market means getting back in will be extra tough, and secondly it'd be dead boring.  However, I woke up Monday thinking I'd be having a good few weeks off, and hopefully all the sunny ones.

I got all the way to noon when the phone rang about a potential job.  So I might manage a couple of weeks off...

Anyway - this week of non-work-based activity has been a combination of job hunting, running and today a rather fab bike ride.  The weekend was nothing short of ghastly weatherise, so Herb and I took Izzy the Dog for a very windy, very wet run over the fell.  I've found a new footpath that brings us out in Eastby, giving a nice hour's run.  Must do it when it's not blowing a gale.

Monday and Tuesday saw me taking Izzy up to Halton East for a run - she was decidedly reluctant on Monday, so perhaps she needs a rest day after a hardish run - I certainly did anyway.

I had a meeting about some potential work this afternoon, so I got off early on my (new) bike and headed off over to Wharfedale.  The climb up Halton Heights was ok, but this new bike seems quite twitchy on fast descents so the run down to Barden was scary in the wind.

Up the main road to Kilnsey then a bit of a flog up Littondale.  The clock said 1:28 when I got to Halton Gill and finally turned away from the wind to ride over the shoulder of Pen y Ghent to Stainforth.  The signpost says "Settle 10", so I told myself I'd try and get over to my scheduled coffee stop by two and a quarter hours - 45 mins for the climb up and the uppy-downy bit to Stainforth.

The steep part of the climb went pretty well, as it's only three short ramps, then there's a long undulating section before the drop down into Ribblesdale.  The wind made its presence felt here and I was amazed to find myself doing 25mph over long sections - in the end I hit settle with the clock on 1:58 - an average of 20mph riding over Pen y Ghent.  I think I deserved the extraordinarily expensive cake from the caff in Settle.

The next section was the reason for the ride - I wanted to check out the climb up High Hill Lane, which will feature in the White Rose for the first time.  I've only ever ridden down this, and have memories of desperately gripping the brakes as a accelerate down its vertiginous slopes.  I wasn't looking forward to riding up it...

As it happens it wasn't too bad - definitely not one of the real toughies, although it is steep, and it does go on a bit.  In fact there's more uphill than you think - even though the "steep bit' of my recall is pretty ok.  Anyway - must remember on 17 June as I'm beginning to cry it's 5 minutes of pain - no more.

A lumpy battle over to Hetton, which never gets any easier, then a wind-assisted whizz down from Rylstone to Brackenley Lane saw 48 miles done in a gnat's over 3 hours.

Happy with that.  More on Friday, methinks...