Saturday 29th September 2018
RC: Mick Birchalk. Location- in bed. Reason- a cold.
65 miles. 5410 ft climbing. Av- about 13-14 mph.
Weather- very windy, a bit sunny and generally cold.
You will note from the outset we were being remotely controlled by our house bound route deviser, Michael Birchall, who unfortunately seemed to have been smitten with a variety of the cold/feeing ill bug that has been doing the rounds of late. Yours truly stepped in for the Garmin route following duties, also with cold, but not enough to prevent enjoying the normal for me, view of watching Steve Kelly’s backside rapidly disappearing up any climbs we encountered. Unfortunately for Steve, he failed to read my last-minute FB missive which stated that the first to the top of the infamous Hall Hill climb (the road opposite the Inn at Whitewell if you don’t already know) had to buy everyone lunch. Smug turned to glum when we told him- and fair do’s he did offer, but conscience prevented us for taking such unfair advantage during our two café stops.
TWO café stops?
Can this be?
Ay, two it was and grand they were. Our designated route took us along Mick’s lovingly crafted route that followed such well-known quiet back lanes as the A6 and A59, passing through several town centres en-route. The last we were to see of habitation before the clockwise circumnavigation of Pendle (via Barley and Sabden) was Chatburn, and with 35 miles already in the tank, and a long way to the café stop proper in Whalley, I called a halt at the Spar shop.
Dave made the most significant discovery of the day- a hot pie cabinet…so with Steve getting the coffees from the vending machine, and Dave the hot pies, I sat back on the garden bench outside and luxuriated in what could only be described as brackish weather outside. Boy, those pies were so good I could still taste mine at the next café stop.
The climb around Pendle is unremitting, and with a strong,cold wind in our faces, we began to feel like it was winter on the way again. This sort of weather at the end of a long hot summer always catches someone out who is insufficiently attired for the occasion. And that someone was me. I was freezing! But never mind, we had Dave’s usual phantasmagorical stories to wonder upon and keep us going as we battled into the headwind, uphill.
Like the story of Dave in France, happening upon a fish and chip shop on fire. This was immediately unusual as Steve and I weren’t aware fish and chips were a staple item in the French diet. No matter. The point was Dave also spied a French fire engine belting towards said on fire French fish and chip shop. The punch line in this case was the shop was at the bottom of a steep hill. And you’ve guessed it the Fire Engine careered straight into the shop front without stopping. I cannot say what ensued as by now I couldn’t talk and climb at the same time, so that one was left for another day…but it can only be a Dave story....
This by the way is a short report on our bike ride yesterday from the cobbles, titled an A/B1 ride. Looking at our overall average speed however, it could hardly be called A pace- I am not sure whether it was me that slowed my two partners down or it was just quite hard- we ended up only a tad faster in average speed than the B2’s (see Luke William Shakespeare Bosman report elsewhere)- and they weren't too shabby. I have also omitted to announce the surprising arrival on the startline of Paul Whaley , recently arisen from his sick bed. Paul rode with us to the Trough Road junction before peeling off to return to base to do something extremely important- was it catching up with episodes of Postman Pat? Good to see you anyway Paul.
Our second café stop was the Autism Café at Whalley Abbey or whatever they call it. Nice food, but honestly, the Spar at Chatburn was the one that hit the spot. If Mercedes can have a two-stop strategy, then why not us?
Thanks to Dave for being entertaining with his stories from around the world, and kudos to Steve whose hill climbing prowess remains impressive.
Get well soon Mick- your ride was in (un)safe hands