Whernside hurts it's never failing in that respect I always forget until I am half way up it and a steady stream of people start to trudge past me one day I'll get fit and monster this one......but not today as today I'm hurting. Simon Fell on the hand always seems a bit easier relatively speaking.
Preparation this year was not its best due school holiday's, both my wife and I traveling away resulting in whole weeks not riding a bike and finally the crash on the Sunday before that landed me in A&E. Not been able to move my leg until the Thursday before the race was not helping. Things were not looking good so had to make the decision to turn up and see what happened. Dressings wrapped in cling film to keep them dry with a knee warmer over the top to keep it place were are ready to go.
9.30 start time it's crazy! I always worry about having a big stack here and this time no exception a whole chunk of the pack go down forcing me to ride the grassy verge its a stressfull time for all.
We hammer along the road make the left turn and were on the farm track and on to the field wow it dry this year no having to carry as soon as we hit the grass is strange. Soon the gradient winds up to max and the sorting starts its most depressing to see a long snake of riders almost reaching the top when your just getting started. I avoid the fence for the first time ever less jostling I go at my own pace I want to see how the leg is (and avoid a telling off from the nurse when I go back to get the dressings redone on the Monday)
Soon were at the top dibbed and heading down them who can ride do others run and stumble along its so dry a fast decent is obtained and people overtaken remembering not to go over the bars this year at the bog at the bottom which must be a disappointment to the spectators.
Bike swapped fuel on board we head on up to Whernside while stuffing my face with water and bars
Packs of riders go past me my legs feel dead I just can't hold a wheel I am to hot and now hate this race and will hate it more as we get into the climb up Whernside. Halfway up a friendly voice "come on shift yer ass Morty" Martin Abbot doing his first race catches me and strides past.
Tech descents are good and this is though it's getting slowly more sanitised as the years go by its still good fun and takes my mind of the accent. Ribblehead more water and food feeling a bit empty so I cram it in and head down the road with now trashed legs Penyghent looms in the distance I know what's instore and it's going to hurt. Left we go and away in the the pain zone I failed to hook any wheels on the way here but get into a group of three Beacon Wheeler Jon Bardgett is collected up and and another. Halfway up just as we all get off and push I am dropped again, I slog upwards people pass me my legs hate me. At last the summit and we are on the way down suddenly I hear "out of control" and a rider shoots past and goes straight on in to the rough holds it for a moment then is catapulted high in to the air lands and picks himself up a lucky escape. Ok moving nicely now but not at full tilt as I am very fatigued I start thinking about cups of tea I overtake a few people then I am rewarded for my complancey on the way down rear flat. I scream to halt fall backwards of the bike and cramp sets in.. Beate Kubitz is just opposite me on her way up I say hi and she falls off I hope I don't have that effect on everybody. I lay in the grass it's nice apart from the cramp two spectators come over and get me to my feet. Fumbling with the spare tube I am gutted to lose more time. Soon we are rolling and the rear is going down again! I make it to the road and grab the spare bike turning myself inside out to get to the finish more people going past now. At last the finish 4.18 no magic 4 hours. Like a addict I will be back next year its the race you can't get out of you system.
Photo credit SportSunday.co.uk