Today my mum was running in the Chevin Chase, a slightly deranged on/off road fell run thing. I went along to support, but rode out and around the Yorkshire Moors north of Bradford to get some miles in beforehand.
I was riding a 68″ gear which was too tall for some of the horrible, hernia-inducing climbs en route. the scenery was bleak and beautiful and the headwind was a veritable calvary of punishment. There’s a section in Jane Eyre where the embattled heroine heads out from Thornfield across the moorland into a gothic frenzy of elemental fury. I never really bought into this bit of the book – until i visited Haworth in the middle of winter a few years back. The Brontë Sisters had it hard. As evidenced by the heavy metal umlaut.
one particular climb out of Oakworth was around 20% and had me in a serious gurn. Similar climbs included Swine Lane up to Otley road which was brutal. At the top i stopped for a quick wazz and saw a stoat – a first for me (the stoat, not the stoat/wazz combination). it was small and red with a black tail. I pressed on across the moor to get to Guisely in time for the start of the race; the headwind had dented my progress somewhat, by i made it with a bit to spar. After meeting my Mum in Guisely i watched the race, then headed home, hoping for a gentler spin.
I was mistaken. Moorhead Lane threw a couple of 20% and more ramps right in my face. My mum drove past in the car at this point and leaned out the window to say that i looked a ‘little ragged’. In truth, i could feel my knees snapping and was chewing a faceful of stem in the face of a horrible block headwind, so yes, i did look a bit crablike. 35 miles, 3100 feet of climbing: hubris indeed.