On Sunday, I did my first century ride on a hilly route through the Pennines (Darlington - Richmond - Redmire - Askrigg - Hawes - Kirkby Stephen - Brough - Middleton-in-Teesdale - Egglestone - Staindrop - Darlington (map)). The ride out to Hawes was wet and into a really strong headwind, which was knackering, but the ride from there was much nicer as the sun got out and the wind was a bit more of a tailwind. I was expecting the ride to be about as difficult as my ride to Tan Hill and back, since I thought the extra distance would be cancelled out by the thinner tyres, but the headwind made it harder.
I carried too much kit, because I wasn't sure what shops would be open on a Sunday. As it happenned, I needn't have worried, because there were loads open. I could easily have left the extra two litres of water that I carried to Hawes, then poured down a drain... I had a coffee and teacake in Hawes, but could have done with eating a bit earlier than that, and then having some more in Kirkby Stephen. I had a small bag on the bars, which was great for keeping Tangfastics, dried fruit and Geobars in for snacking as I rode.
There was some fantastic scenery on the route. The road from Brough to Middleton-in-Teesdale is stunning. Gunshots from the MOD ranges added a nicely surreal touch, as did the huge bearded guy wearing tartan plus-fours...
I was absolutley knackered by the end. My knees hurt, rather than my leg muscles which is odd, and I had sharp pains in the back of my shoulders. Once I'd signed out, it was like a switch had been flicked and I just had no energy left; the ride home from the town centre seemed to take ages compared to when I ride home from work. I think I got round on stubbornness, rather than fitness. I think I was slurring my speech when I got home, and I was shivering while wating for a hot bath to run.
I'll be doing it again next year.
Darlington - 8:45
Hawes - 1:00
Kirkby Stephen - 3:00
Middleton-in-Teesdale - 5:00
Darlington - 6:45
Distance: 100 miles (approx)
Time: 10 hours
Weather: Wet and windy, but warm
Bike: Inbred (with 1.5" slick tyres)