Once again the Christmas Cracker Sportive was postponed from its original date in December (surprise) due to bad weather and took place yesterday instead. It’s the second time in 3 years that this has happened, I’m sure someone somewhere is thinking that maybe a cyclosportive in the depths of winter in the Lake District isn’t a great idea….but anyway.
I picked Phil up at dark o’clock and we soon arrived at Staveley, the plan was to ride the 15 miles or so from there to the start of the event at Grasmere so we’d be nicely warmed up. It also meant that I’d be able to fit in an extended ride after the sportive…
At the start we met up with Nick, Paul and Steve and immediately set off and hit the first and steepest climb (25%) of the day. Our warm up paid dividends as we grovelled up the hill, but grovelled a bit less painfully than those around us who’d only just got on their bikes. We then proceeded to tear off towards the first feed station about 35 miles away as quickly as possible. Me and Phil don’t do ‘sociable rides’ for some reason. We just try to tear each other’s legs off instead 😉
After a good 25 minutes of over-indulgence and a natter to Dave and Angela (who I reckon had been there for several hours drinking coffee and eating cakes) at the feed station in Cartmel we set off back onto the road via the river of mud outside the scout hut. We were taking it a bit easier now – scones, cheese and ham barm cakes, cups of tea and flapjacks caused me to feel a little bit sick after a couple of miles. Phil on the other hand was getting hungry again, blaming ‘fast metabolism’ or something.
I was glad I’d taken the newly-built Ragley Cragg Vale as the roads up there at this time of year seem to be liberally coated with mud and farm poo. The sensible mudguards were doing their job at keeping the sludge off me and mostly off the rest of the bike while everyone else I saw on mudguard-less bikes were completely covered in slop.
After returning back to Grasmere we finally had a bowl of Christmas pudding and custard, another cup of tea and I left Phil to continue my planned ride. I rode up The Struggle to the Kirkstone Inn, took a photo, admired the view for a bit then enjoyed the descent back down towards Windermere and then back to Staveley and the warmth of the car.