Friday, 5 July 2013

3 Peaks By Bike - Day 2: The bastard wind day

The plan for day 2 was to set off early, cycle the 100+ miles to the Lake District and do Scafell Pike in the late afternoon/early evening. The weather put something of a damper on that. Forecast for Scafell Pike for later afternoon was heavy rain, 50mph winds with 65mph+ gusts. Not fun at the best of times but when tired after 100 miles of hard cycling it could be a tad dangerous.

With some regret I made the decision to postpone Scafell until early on day 3 with a view to revising if the weather abated and we made good time on cycling.

Rain and strong cross winds didn't help for the first 30 miles and it was slow going. Approaching Lancaster I phoned Cath to check see was OK and had managed to pack the tent away in the vile weather only to discover that her car wouldn't start (she'd managed the tent fine). Nightmare! All I could do was plod on and hope that the AA could fix it and see her on her way again. It was a worry.

Shortly after Lancaster - which, by the way, was a total bastard to navigate through - Bruce became a ghastly shade of grey and had to resort to the train. I decided to put the hammer down and try and make up time to see if I could make Wasdale for an evening ascent of Scafell Pike. The rain had stopped but the wind was now horrendous. A 25-30mph constant headwind that had me grovelling. I knew that I would struggle to get there by mid/late afternoon.  The roads also began to rise in the southern Lake District and some ascents were long and relatively steep.

Plenty of these!

I became inventive with my cursing of the wind which at times was slowing me to a crawl. On one descent of about 6% gradient I attempted to freewheel only to find that the wind simply brought me to a stop. Demoralising! The last 20 miles took me 2.5 hours! One hour longer than I'd expect it to have taken me!

I arrived at the B&B a broken man after 104 miles of hard slog. The weather had improved to the point where an ascent of Scafell Pike was easily possible (Jo and Rich had decided to go up earlier in the afternoon) but it was late and I was knackered. Food and sleep was the only thing on my agenda for that evening. Leave the climb til early morning ...

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