Following my good result at Cropton last month I was looking forward to seeing if it was a fluke or if I was actually not as out of shape as I thought. The weather was not as inviting as last time, 7 degrees with high winds and rain but Swaledale is a lovely part of the world and whatever the weather it is always to get out on those hills.
We were based at the fantastic Dales biking centre in Fremington and the last time I called in was on my Coast to Coast attempt in 2010 as it was one of my water filling stops. Stuart even tracked me and stayed up till 2am to welcome me into the dale,such is his passion for all things cycling.
Anyway, back to the task in hand, 4 hours orienteering in gales and with some big hills to climb around the dale.
We were heading north from Reeth and I chose to go over Reeth Low Moor up to Nova Scotia where I knew there were a few trails which criss crossed and this was where my first cockup happened, I came to two tracks crossing and I chose the wrong one and rode off through the wrong field and wasted ten minutes using back up a field to get back to the right track. As I crested the hill and began to descend I noticed one of my bottle cages had worked loose so I had to stop and tighten the bolts as loosing half of my fluid would not be the best idea.
With the wind behind me I started the climb up to Hurst and I knew by this time that my legs were lacking in power and I was going to be down on speed and it was going to be a tough day.
Next I needed to head back West over Hurst Moor but now the wind was giving me a beating from head on and it was a case of just keeping my head down and pushing through it. Progress was slow and I was beginning to feel a bit hungry but the moments later I ‘bonked’ my vision went blurred my legs were so weak I had to stop and all I wanted to do was roll over and sleep until I felt better, I ate both my bars and half my gels in one hit hoping that it would kick in soon and bring me back to life. I set off slowly rolling down to the tarmac road and then climbed up through Stang Side and over the ‘border’ to County Durham.
I was feeling marginally better but I knew my pace was compromised and adjusted my route to suit, but due to my fuzziness I missed a trail and ended up at a dead end in the forest so it was over the fence and through a meadow to get back to where I was supposed to be. I would love to see what the guy behind had to say when he realised the ‘fast guy who looks like he knows what he’s doing’ was in fact lost!
Now it was time to head back towards the event centre and at least I had the descent down the side of Fremington Edge to look forward to.
I got back 1 1/2 minutes late so only had a 2 point penalty giving me a score of 298 from 525. Not the best but as the winning score was 410 it means my percentage of that gives me point to the league so all in all not too bad for a bad day on the trails, but even then is it possible to have a bad day on a bike in Swaledale??
Even tough I was pretty cold on my return I still had a big smile on my face so that kind of answers that one I think.
Now I just need to rest up my legs for a while as they feel like PVF is still knocking about and I need to get them back on form for the next event in a few weeks…lets hope Kildale doesn’t live up to its name!