Section F: Malton to Barnard Castle
Distance covered : 113.52 km; Elevation gain: 1357 m;
Start time: 08-Aug-2022 0808 hrs Expected time to reach CP: 08-Aug-2022 1128 hrs; Actual time to reach CP: 08-Aug-2022 1445 hrs
Ride time: 6 h 37 m; Moving time: 6 h 03 m; Stoppage time: 0 h 33 m;
Stoppage time at CP: 1 h 00 m
This was a BIG one, both in terms of the distance as well as well as the climb. Good thing was that we were doing this stretch on fresh legs, after a good breakfast but we were a bit late. It was already about 8 AM, sun was up and it was getting hotter.
From an overall schedule perspective also it was a tad late. It was quite a sizeable distance and kms were getting knocked out slowly and there was quite a bit of rolling terrain to cover. Country side remained picture perfect with sun beating down upon us and Ripunjay and I kept riding together. Somewhere around the mid-way encountered a big climb, with mid to high gradients but a long one, almost appeared to be the “Road to Sky”, drained out a lot of energy and resources.
So when we checked in the secret control after the descent of this climb it was like a walking into an oasis (the one that exists) in a blazing desert. It was such a relief to get here, cool off for a few minutes, replenish the resources and then continue forth.
Rest of the route to Barnard Castle remained rolling, with another reasonably big climb but we now had the comfort of resources and also knew that the next CP (Barnard Castle) is not too far off and soon checked in here.
“Soon” was still later than the worst case scenario that was planned. Decided to re-fuel, get some bit of rest before continuing further. It was hot and previous section was a tough one. Better to get few extra moments of rest and recovery.
Loaded the carbs, proteins in the body, hydrated well, including having some sugary liquids, topped with salts to replenish the electrolytes. Had felt some light cramps along the way and didn’t want them to worsen.
Ripunjay had got his bag access at Barnard Castle and had decided to stay a bit longer so continued the rest of the ride on my own.
Section G: Barnard Castle to Brampton
Distance covered : 89.99 km; Elevation gain: 1464 m;
Start time: 08-Aug-2022 1546 hrs Expected time to reach next CP: 08-Aug-2022 1751 hrs; Actual time to reach next CP: 08-Aug-2022 2109 hrs
Ride time: 5 h 23 m; Moving time: 4 h 57 m; Stoppage time: 0 h 26 m;
Stoppage time at CP: 2 h 42 m
Sleep time at CP: 3 h 50 m
Ok, so if the previous one was by far the toughest segment, this one takes the cake and the icing and the cherry or anything that came along with it.
Monstrous climbs, more like twin Burj Khalifas, big distance, massive gradients and then downhill on those crazy double digit gradients.
This sums up what this segment was all about.
It came into being since the famous Yad Moss was closed due to roadworks and this was the only de-tour available to get us to the next CP. It added a only a few kms in the overall distance but massively changed the elevation profile. It appeared to be a make or break segment psychologically with those crazy gradients to be scaled. This was truly the road to sky and once one of the hill was scaled second one appeared to top it even further.
Gradients were just not dropping to single digits, however was absolutely adamant to not to get off the bike and if the need be ride the entire climb off saddle, inch by inch. After some infinite minutes got to the summit and whooshed through the descent. It was exhilarating, thrilling and quite scary doing some crazy speeds and hearing nothing but the sound of the wind till I got down to the base.
It was good to finally ride to the CP with less gradients and occasional flat surfaces as well. Day had been brutal and there was still one more section to be covered.
Got access to the drop bag, showered and it felt good to put on a clean and dry kit after nearly 48 hours. Gobbled some food and reflected on the climbing done today. It was indeed a tough day. Was hoping to catch up with Ripunjay and continue further but there was no sight of him. Went to the check-in desk and inquired but there was no update. Just when I was about to step out of the door felt a little of bit of cramp building up in the left thigh, something that had been niggling through the day.
It had been nearly 2 hours of break at Brampton, body had completely cooled down, hot shower had made me cozy, comfortable and warm as well and now these cramps. It was a major spoiler but decided to stay back, get a good night’s rest and then start early.
So at around 2300 hrs took the decision to not to ride further and sleep and idea was to wake up by 0300 hrs and be off by 0330-45 hrs.
Day 2 Stats
Distance Covered: 203.51 km Elevation gain: 2821 m
Ride time: 12 h 00 m; Moving time: 11 h 01 m; Stoppage time: 0 h 59 m;
Stoppage time at CPs: 3 h 42 m; Avg stoppage time at CPs: 1 h 41m; Sleep time: 3 h 50 m
Stats wise Day 2 was far below expectation and perhaps close to a disaster. I was not tracking to ANY of the plans by any margin right now. Cumulative riding time so far was about 27 hours out of nearly 41 hours. Distance wise also there wasn’t much covered today. Only green shoot was the big elevations done but this was just the start of hills. Tomorrow I would be entering Scotland and it’s just hilly all the way. Not the best of the thoughts to end the day.
At this juncture, I recalled something that I had read somewhere…that there are going to be patches which are not going to go too well, once you are past them, don’t fuss or think much about them, and same for the good patches. Just keep moving forward…with these thoughts, got lulled into sleep.