Sunday, 4 December 2011

Biting off more than you can chew

Been planning a road ride with someone from S&P gym for a couple of weeks and we managed to be free on the same day- today. So we picked a route, from Glossop over Snake, Strines, Holmfirth and back, got our stuff together and went off for a jolly.

The weather had been pretty shoddy for the preceding 24hours, rain, wind, that kind of thing, and there was allegedly going to be a bit of snow around and about the place, but probably not until Monday. Not too much of an issue, we'll just head along and see what happens.
Started up the Snake, all was good except for a couple of cars passing a bit close. It rained, and then the rain took on a bit of a whiter colour. Nah... thats got to be my fevered imagination taking over.
Sleet, maybe.
We wended our way to the top and there was definite snow on the ground. Maybe an inch or so on the moor, but nothing on the road. Stopped for a quick snack, and off into the descent. Uphill is fine, at least you are producing some heat, but going down, the wind just whips any semblence of warmth away from you. To begin with the brakes didn't work, so I hung on to them until they warmed up, and then carried on. As I don't own a pair of overshoes, my feet were already wet through, and pretty soon, like blocks of ice. Ah well, my hands were in a pair of Sealskinz lobster mitts, and I had armwarmers on, at least the top part of my body was warm.

We bombed down the snake, and went through graduations of snow, sleet and rain, also, incidentally, passing Derby MRT's landrover at Birchen Clough carpark. (waaaay out of their area...) but at the bottom, the sun was out and it was really quite pleasant. We headed down to the traffic lights at Ladybower, and with the sun out, felt pretty good. Hands fine, feet a bit chilled, but hey, we're ok, lets not turn left and go the short way, lets carry on.
Oh, what a fun plan.

Up and left onto the Strines road and a ridiculous crosswind immediately hit us, sapping energy and heat. However, the road conditions were good and we were cruising along at a good pace. Then it started raining again, lots of standing water on the road, and still that cross/headwind.
Then the hills started, steep downhill, which is cold, and steep uphills, which are hard work, at one point, going up a 25%er it started raining and I remember thinking "great, it can't get much worse than this".
Then it started hailing.

On and on, through a couple of villages, hang a left onto the A616 and its really getting to be not fun at this point. Driving rain, sleet, nastiness, really can't feel my feet, and gloves beginning to get sodden- and therefore cold. Over the roundabout and we aren't looking healthy, but we gamely carry on. I'm beginning to feel sick- slightly ill- maybe off colour and the shivers are setting in. After a few more km I can't feel my hands, and we pass a pub.
It smells of chips.
We carry on going, every pedal stroke an effort, my feet are now not attached to me, and my legs are numb from the knee down. I can't feel my fingers, so I can't brake, or steer and I can barely keep up with Ben, let alone take a turn at the front. Its miserable. We are miserable. I'm hanging.
At the next pub, we stop.
Walking inside, there are coal fires, and just the landlady and someone else. Shoes off, socks off. I can feel no appreciable difference- walking around barefoot on a stone floor... I could still have been wearing shoes for all I knew. Find phone, but shaking too much to get it out, let alone see what it says on it. Call Lynne.
Need a lift home.

It took 2 cups of tea and 15 mins before I stopped shivering, and about 25 before I gained feeling in my feet to the point that I could feel my hands on them.
Lynne came and picked us up. Cold, and beaten, but not hypothermic. Thankfully. The drive home over Holme Moss was interesting, with 2 inches of snow on the road. We were 20km from home ish- about 2/3 of the way through the ride. Humbled.

When you bite off more than you can chew, you get what you deserve.

1 comment:

  1. So it looks like the hares knew something you didn't? Never realised English hares went white in winter - I thought it was only the Arctic ones.