Sunday- a day of rest, for some!

Today Andy, Colin and Colin and myself were joined first by Martin, John and another Tim, to ride from Ripon in North Yorkshire to Middleton in Teesdale in County Durham. Martin, having ridden with us yesterday into Ripon, branched off after Masham, to climb his way back to Ripon.

The five of us continued to Leyburn, then onto Reeth, where I met Ernie, a good friend of thirty plus years. We all had lunch then cycled through the village that was fit to burst with hundreds of visitors. Not a blade of grass of the expansive village green seemed free of parked vehicles. Within a mile, as is so often the case, the roads were mainly deserted as we headed for Tan Hill, where the highest pub in England is. Oh, that we were going there. Instead we turned off and headed up The Stang.

Now the Stang has earned a reputation in cycling circles, not because it is particularly steep at an average gradient of 7.1% or its maximum at 14% that gains 884 feet, but more for the climbing that precedes it and with our worldly processions for the next nine days strapped to various parts of our bike’s anatomy, we had to work hard. Lungs were opened to their maximum as they endeavoured to deliver oxygen to screaming leg muscles. This was the hardest challenge since leaving Broadstairs, 400 miles ago.

We all made it to the top without a stop and admired the 360 degree views. As much as the assent had fulfilled any masochistic enjoyment, the descent was a delight, as I hit over 70km/h, negotiating some interesting bends.

Sadly, Andy’s gear cable snapped on the descent, requiring him to work hard to arrive in Middleton. He has returned to Ripon to repair it travelling with John and the other Tim, who were kindly collected by Tim’s wife. Andy’s wife has also kindly agreed to return Andy tomorrow morning.

It seems improbable that the four of us were in Lincolnshire on Friday and will be in Bellingham tomorrow evening.

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