Yesterday I felt the need to get out on the bike and after a short debate I headed up in to North Yorkshire to ride around Hawes and take in the epic Buttertubs pass.
I packed the car and headed off, the further north I headed the colder it got. First few days of spring my arse! As I turned left off the A1 and headed towards Leyland and Hawes the hills came into view and they were bedecked with SNOW!
Snow in the middle of the road
I parked in Hawes and got on the bike and set off on a bit of a loop that was to include Buttertubs in initially from the south and then turning and coming back from Thwaite and riding it from north to south.
The computer shows that when I set off it was 14 degrees and at the top of the hill it was three degrees and the wind speed at the top of the pass was18 mph.
Buttertubs is exposed and bleak the road offers spectacular views in the summer and in the “spring” the banks of snow and the cold detracted from the spectacular. A TV programme were filming a car show around and up and down the pass I saw several times an RS Focus and a Rolls Royce Wraith being filmed. The Rolls was a red and cream contrast model not to my choice reminded me of the interior of a car my dad owned once.
As you start on the climb towards the Simonstone Hotel the road starts to climb. My rhythm was hindered by the electric board were replacing wires that the weather had brought down this meant that there were three sets of temporary traffic lights each of which were on red as I arrived! Once past the hotel the climbing really starts a short 9% bump and then relentless further bumps four of them start the lactic to burn these are followed by a 50m 18% stretch water was running across and down the road this made my feet and backside wet (nice). The climbing was hard and as I topped the bump the next one longer again came into focus. A much longer climb about 100 meters and at times ramping to 23% which dropped my speed to almost backwards! The hard part of the climb was broken but up a head the climbing continued into the distance and some. At the top of the climb the snow had drifted to the top of the gate adjacent to the cattle grid. South to north I had conquered Buttertubs from the south.
As I made my way down the other side my breaks were getting a full work out the wind had changed its impact and was attempting to push me into the middle of the road this combined with the snow melt running down and across the road meant I had to peddle hard to maintain both direction and speed going down the hill!! This was getting ominous for the ride back up!
As I reached the B6270 I turned round and started the climb back up and over to Hawes the north to south route is in my mind much harder and I am not sure if this was due to the headwind which was relentless and this time desperate to push me over the catch wire. From the north the climb starts at once with a difficult stand up and peddle as the road reaches 12% before easing for a restful 200 metres or so. As the right left bend the road steepens and the headwind made this section very difficult there was no respite and I needed to use the road to keep any momentum the eind at one stage pushed mee off the road in to the gravel this sapped all my speed immediately and only by swinging into the road across the hill did I manage to keep going. No gears left very little momentum and a headwind that wanted to push me off the side of the hill. The tears in my eyes were from the wind but the voice in my ears was from my head. I managed to just keep going and snatching a gear back got enough speed to keep upright and moving forward.
The last hill 200 meters at 26% with the wind focused into a jet that smashed into my chest I made it about 50 meters up before the combination of wind, steepness, leg pain and mental attitude meant I could go no further I was still peddling but going nowhere so I had to get off and push, humiliated not one car had passed on the way up this far and 150 metres from the top it was like the M62 at 8:30 worst of all a camera car flashed past filming the RS Focus as I wheezed onwards. About 30 metres from the top I managed to get back on and ride the summit but north to south not a great effort. As I made my way back down the other side towards Hawes a second camera car followed by the Rolls came past now this time not only was I in the saddle but I managed to stay with the Rolls all of the way back into Hawes, probably wrecking the shots who wants to spend all that money on a car that a fat git on a bike can keep up with!