Last weekend I took the train to the Dales with my friend Chris.
We decided it would be fun to go camping and do a sportive. The options for the Sportive were 33 km, 60 or 75 km. As we have ideas above our station we thought the 75 seemed the best bet and we had done this kind of distance quite a lot of times before.
We hooked up at Kings Cross, jumped on the train to Leeds, then got a train to the Dales. Chris left his sleeping bag on the train, so we had to go sleeping bag shopping when we arrived.
The camp site was only 5 miles from the station, so close we thought. We were fools, the pair of us, 5 miles is a long way when you are riding up hill with a backpack, a sleeping bag, a rollmat and a tent strapped to your back.
When we got to the campsite, the sheep from the field next door had escaped and had spent the evening busying themselves on the camp site. The campsite was filled with evidence that sheep had been around and the bloke pitched across the way from us, Big T and his wife Jackie were not best pleased.
Big T, had 2 dogs and they spent the best part of the day rolling about in sheep muck. Big T, had only bathed them the day before and didn’t like the idea of them being covered in muck, especially has he had a super posh tent with all the mod cons, including 2 double inflatable sofas and a rug for the dogs to lie on.
Big T’s piece de resistance was his multi coloured flashing fairy lights he had arranged around his tent entrance, he turned these on each evening around 8 pm.
Chris and I went and had a pint with Big T , Jackie and the 2 sheep muck covered dogs. We then rode to some nice waterfalls and had a climb and a splash around.
We got up on Saturday morning after spending a sleepless night listening to a chorus of baa-ing and went for a fry up.
We pedalled to the beautiful village of Clapham and registered for the race. It was a 75 mile race not km. Slight oversight on our behalf.
We rode through beautiful villages, we climbed hills that made you feel sick, we descended hills so fast I thought we might take off, we rode with the sunshine on our backs and with the rain in our faces, we slammed on our brakes to save running into a herd of misplaced sheep, we swerved to avoid a lone cockrel, we had some might lows and some incredible highs.
It was an amazing ride, really well organised and you got a yummy lunch thrown in around the 35 mile mark. The organisers mum had made some Parkin, which I have to say was as good as my grans, and believe me I would not throw a comment like this around lightly.
Ps: Me and my mate came last in the race, but we did stop off at the Dales Visitors Centre to buy a tea towel and an iron-on Dales badge.