Glorious weather predicted and the prospect of quiet roads, because of big TV audiences for the Royal wedding. A good reason to be putting on my cycling shoes in Barnard Castle at 8.30 am. The air was still cool down by the Tees and on the road up to Romaldkirk. Up the lanes past Hury and Blackton reservoirs, then over the tops to Grassholme reservoir and out over Mickleton Moor on the road to Brough. The road topped out at 1550ft just after the county border to give me stunning views out over Cumbria to North Yorkshire and the peaks of the Lake District. I dropped into the Eden Valley losing 1,000ft in five miles and rolled through Brough for a cake stop at the Pink Geranium cafe in Kirkby Stephen.
Then climb through Nateby and up over Lamps Moss, a two and a half mile climb averaging 8%, but with stretches much steeper. The signs said 20%. I was caught and passed by several other cyclists. It was such a beautiful day, but I was struggling to catch my breath.
The climb topped out at 1650ft and 32 miles into my ride, I crossed into my third county of the day. Upper Swaledale is glorious. Glorious! And such a joy to ride downhill. I used every advantage gravity can give, but my breathing got worse and a wheeziness became a whistle. By the time I reached Reeth, I was really sruggling. I crawled into the Dales Bike Centre at Fremmington and collapsed on the grass.
Coffee, a good sandwich and an enormous slice of cake later, I thought I was ready to push on, but a mile up the road after climbing and 250ft, I knew my day was done. I had to do something I’ve not done in years: make the call of shame. I called home to be picked up.
It was an excellent ride. Will definitely go back to complete it at some point soon.
50 miles; 4,485ft of hills; 4h 33m in the saddle