The Eden Valley Epic certainly lived up to its name today. An early morning Sunday drive over the Pennines to Penrith had snow on the hills and lambs in the fields.
Met up with an old mate Matt to ride the route: we had a good catch-up on the road for about half-an-hour until it became apparent Matt was too fast for me, and zoomed off. Arriving at The Strickland Arms, they were (as usual) doing sterling service dishing out drinks and lollipops, so I stopped for a rest here.
Somewhere around Newby I picked up a rear puncture. I was scrupulous checking where the puncture was, to be able to pull whatever had caused it from the tyre to avoid another. However, nothing doing, so I popped a new tube in and carried on, hoping for the best.
The first major hill of the day is out from Crosby Ravensworth, and by now (09:30), the rain that was forecast for 3pm was here in force! At the top it was impossible for me to get the front gears to engage the big chain-ring (it later turned out that the shifter cable had burst out of the housing somewhere under the handlebars, so that’ll mean new cables).
Pushing on in the small ring, eventually Appleby-in-Westmorland was reached, and the refreshment stop.
The route now follows the edge of the Pennines, and in the past has been glorious cycling. Today it just seemed like hard work – rain, mud, no front gears, and the rear gears gradually seizing up with all the clag from the road.
Finally there was the last steep drag up to Beacon Plantation, which actually wasn’t too bad, as psychologically you know you’re almost back at Penrith.
Overall 95.2km in 4 hours 45 mins (including stops for food and punctures!) and 1311m of climbing.
Bike off for a full service tomorrow!