A glimpse of Day One
Depart: 09:00 (ish) – Inn at Whitewell, Lancashire
Weather rating: Foul
After a hearty breakfast of porridge all round, the Great Inns cycle team set about their grand depart from the Inn at Whitewell. Ed Henebury , owner of the White Horse & Griffin, led the team pep talk with a brief safety note and a reminder that the cycle was meant to be a bit of fun. Nervous laughter rippled around the group, as they were all aware that the famed precipitation of the Pennine’s awaited them, and time was of the essence.
With rain setting in hard, and the promise of a challenging climb to start the day, the cyclists’ trepidation may have been tangible, but they put on a brave face and set about the first stage of the tour. The hills rose and fell with the miles, and soon the sun was shining on the plucky group – with the Yorkshire Dales rumbling underneath the five pairs of tyres.
Having covered a somewhat lumpy terrain, the group fought their way up the final incline of the morning and to the top of the Cote De Shibden Wall. Having planned the route to cycle down the wall (an astute move by Simon Heaton) the cyclists cautiously freewheeled down the cobbles, a mere 15% gradient over half a mile in total, before reaching likely the smoothest piece of road they’d encountered all day. The waft of a well-earned lunch met each rider in turn as they made their way towards the end of stage one: Shibden Mill Inn – aren’t you a sight for sore eyes.
Depart: 14:15 – Shibden Mill Inn, West Yorkshire
Weather rating: Glorious sunshine… and then the wind blew
‘Guinness is good for you’ so the old adage goes, but with only one member of the cycling group electing to round off lunch with a pint of the dark stuff it remained to be seen whether the 1920’s ad slogan really rang true. A quick re-group and the team headed up, up, and even more up, towards their final stop for the day, The Boar’s Head at Ripley, North Yorkshire.
The sun was doing its darndest to make up for the poor effort first thing, but with sun came a breeze which was to only increase as the afternoon went on. To avoid the busy main roads around Bradford, the cyclists took a quieter route and were making good progress until a bump in the road (quite literally) blew out Tom Leicester’s tyre and stopped the group in their tracks. The support vehicle was called and 45 minutes later the cyclists were back on the road.
With the tyre replaced and a brief respite taken, the group made their way due north – but not before there was a break away by Simon – had Shibden provided him with something a little stronger than J20? The wind became stronger as they headed north, but the group arrived at The Boar’s Head a little after 6pm and headed straight for the bar (they are innkeepers after all).
72 miles covered with 8400 feet of ascent.