Day 8- Kirby Stephen to York; 1st July 2023

It’s the day of the long climb today and the highest point of the whole ride as we cross the Pennines – 130 km and 1259 metres climbing. It was also the day that had been nagging away at me for a couple of days.  It’s a big hill, and the end of eight days of consecutive rides.  Today was the test.

A gentle start as I left Great Musgrave and made my way towards Brough before turning SE and some lovely back roads towards the ever-looming Pennine hills.  My bike computer tells me when there is a summit to conquer, its length and its average gradient.  it wasn’t long before the 5.6km climb was on screen – I didn’t look at the gradient average but the cross-profile on screen had plenty of red (over 10 per cent) section.  Hey ho off I go!.

The legs felt good and the steeper sections were knocked off one by one as the climb continued.  The road surface was a good one too which always helps.  Sue caught me up and snapped a few shots as I climbed and sooner than I expected I arrived at the top of the first section.  Still not Tan Hill but the high moors were all around.  The roads then  wound its way around the moorland landscape, a few short fast downhills, a few short steep climbs as I crossed moorland streams.  

The wind was a strong westerly today and this caused me to temper some of my downhill speed but soon, the pub at Tan Hill hove into sight, and I was there; Sue inside drinking coffee.  I soon joined her and celebrated with a box of Tan Hill fudge!

Fully refreshed it was onto Reeth on the most magnificent descent, through stunning landscapes on the generally super-smooth tarmac.

In Reeth, I had a ‘date’ at The Threshing Barn where Sara treated me to a range of fabulous cakes and coffee before I was on the road again, stopping briefly at Grinton to have a chat with Janet (the Threshing Barn’s previous owner).  

The next section was a fast one, as I headed down the valley towards Cattrick, then Masham, (the route carefully avoiding any towns along the way).  Through Boroughbridge and onto some lovely fast roads as I headed down towards York.  I fell in behind a cyclist at one stage, and we sped along before I took over in front and for a good 10km or so, we shot along on fabulous roads – exhilarating.

Sue was waiting in a café in Tollerton, so I said goodbye to my companion and joined her and we were soon joined by Paul and Katherine who’d tandemed out from York to join us and guide me to their home in York.

Drafting behind them as we sped towards Haxby was fabulous, and not having to navigate was also a bonus!  And soon we were at the end of day eight, a beer in hand and a chance to catch up with each other.  A day off tomorrow and an opportunity to clean and fettle the bike (and to rest the backside!)


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