The ride to the start was nice and I foolishly though the weatherman had got the forecast wrong. I had time to sign up, put waterproofs on (since it started raining) and adjust my light and then we were off. Sticking with a group to Todmorden my average speed was pleasing but soon the hills got bigger and I got slower and colder. The rain by this point was really coming down (not what I would call drizzle BBC weather), visibility was poor and it actually hurt when it hit your face. I realised I hadn't eaten enough earlier and stopped put my showerproof on over my waterproof and ate a couple of cereal bars.
The first control was in settle and it felt like it was a long way! Getting there I quickly ordered a bacon roll and two cakes, just to make sure, as well as a hot chocolate. Leaving Settle and the sun was out and I was feeling better, the earlier thoughts of heading home were gone and I could feel my feet again. Turns out I was a little too optimistic and the rain started again. It also seemed to be nice and hilly. Still it was only 20miles to the next control.
I got there and the sun was out, a nice little mobile van cafe provided me with another hot chocolate and I set off just in front of two lads I had arrived just after. They caught me within a couple of miles and I grabbed the wheel, it was very windy and riding into the wind on my own was taking a lot of effort. One of them was very strong and I took the front once or twice but after a quick recovery he was back on the front pulling us along. Through Lancaster and I was glad of my Garmin to lead me through, apart from traffic lights we made good progress not having to read a route sheet. Then onto the cafe at Scorton. Here it was chocolate cake time!
My Gloves had dried out by now and I even took my waterproofs off. A nice section of flat along the A6 was quite enjoyable and I hooked up with another Audaxer who wasn't sure where he was going and was using me as a personal sat-nav. Turning off the A6 and towards Blackburn the temperature started dropping and the next thing we know the hail comes. Waterproofs straight back on we gathered a small group of Audaxes sheltering by a barn waiting for it to be possible to see again. Onwards and upwards, or so it felt, my front shifter decided to die while stuck in the big ring. I decided I would prefer to be stuck in the little ring so undid the cable, the right decision with some hills still to come.
After Blackburn it started to get dark but I knew the roads well and was actually enjoying some of the climbing, still rubbish at it but not a suprise as most of my riding is flat at the moment. I clattered through a pothole on the down to Rochdale but fortunately got away with it. In Rocahdale I picked up another couple of lost Audaxes who had managed to get to there via Bacup. They even bought me a pint to say thanks for guiding them the last couple of miles. Back to the pub at the start to be fed pie and chips before riding home. It seemed to take ages getting home, and looking at my average speed for that part of the journey it did, as the wind was even stronger and a head wind.
Average Speed 13.6mph