More heavy rain, very strong winds and general weather misery had been forecast for last weekend. In fact the forecasts were so poor and followed such a nasty week of weather, floods, damage and widespread chaos that Dave and I had agreed that despite our plans to ride a record-breaking Daft Ride (yes, there is a record that needs beating), we should lower our ambitions for the time being and embark on a more straightforward route involving lower risk and no complicated logistics.
So I arrived at Dave’s house on Saturday morning with my cross bike, regular kit for a day in the hills and a Gore-Tex jacket. The only thing missing so far was rain….
We set off along a mixture of suburban streets, dual carriageways and cycle paths past allotments that looked like shanty towns, finally arriving on nice country lanes I think towards Longridge. I say ‘I think’ as I’m not entirely sure what route we took. I know that we went to Pendle and climbed some really steep hills near there (in fact once we started climbing we didn’t really stop) and I know that a lot of the roads that we rode were quite remote. The route included a very long rocky bridleway across a fell – I dunno, this is useless! I can’t say for certain which fell it was but it was near Dunsop Fell. All will be explained soon I’m sure.
What I do know is that after 4 hours or so of not being rained on, the rain finally arrived. Hail at first, then just a good old soaking. In some ways I was glad to see the rain as I’d taken the trouble to wear a waterproof (which I hate doing). As we pressed on into the wind, Dave helpfully pointed out the many sights and landmarks that we would have been able to see from our various high vantage points but were unable to do so due to the constant shroud of grey mist – it was like a Radio 4 serial, the audible descriptions allowing the imagination to take over (I was imagining views of snow-capped alps, funfairs and herds of wildebeest though).
Dunsop Fell was left alone for another day – the saturated ground would have made this a soggy slog across a barren moor – so we stopped for a brew and a cake in Dunsop Bridge then pressed on back towards Preston. 99.3 miles later, we arrived back where we started…less than a mile short of a century but almost 10,000 feet of ascent gained in the last 8 hours. Like I said, we climbed a lot.