May & June 200km Audax, done - 8 to go

Oops, missed May's ride so 2 for the price of 1. These 2 rides are part of my 12 x 200km rides ridden in each of 12 consecutive months, a little challenge overseen by Audax UK. For May's ride I headed off on a circuit starting from Settle and travelling South to Uppermill crossing the Bowland Fells and returning through Luddenden & Barnoldswick, home to Hope. Route here if anyone interested,

A glorious day, fab views of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks, loads of climbing (c 3500m) and an insight into the splendid number of lanes that we have in this fair isle of ours.

The Forest of Bowland is a fab area to ride and to be thoroughly recommended - the ladies in the village shop at Slaidburn were mightily impressed that it was humanly possible to ride this far in a day as I showed them my route sheet for the day!

The Pendle Hills are not to be underestimated and Stocks Lane (shown in photo of steep bend) for those that like climbing steep roads is a fab little number worth seeking out and including as part of a ride.

And so to June's ride. These rides can either be Audax calender events -set rides on set dates, Permenant rides - 

set rides on a date of your own choosing, or a DIY ride of your own devising ridden on a date of your own choosing proven that it's been ridden by either collecting receipts or by submitting a file from a bike computer.

So, for June I did a DIY ride from Windermere to Gretna via Kendal yesterday, a somewhat breezy day. I'm a self confessed softy when it comes to riding in the rain (or more importantly, setting off in the rain). I left it slightly late setting off, 3-15 in the afternoon. Ok, that would mean a few hours biking in the dark but we're 'ard us Audax lot! The ride over Shap Fell was a tad drizzly but not overly so - the advantage at this stage was the tailwind bowling me along at a fair old

rate. And the sky cleared and the sun came out. From Penrith to Carlisle there is a glorious lane that runs up the side of the M6 that avoids the A6 and cunningly allows access to a motorway service station were one to need it. Carlisle going out on a Saturday night was a sight to behold. And so to Gretna, strangely deserted. It was only later that I found out that there might have been a slightly important footy match on. I had put the wind direction to the back of my mind but now it became apparent that the return journey might be slower than the outward. Gretna to Penrith, ok. Penrith to Shap, ok but getting more noticeable. And then the adventure started. Shap back to Kendal was possibly one of the hardest few miles I've spent on a bike. Huge headwind but so fortunate to have no rain, ok it was dark by now (mid night ish) but if you like being clobbered by the wind, crawling along at a snails pace and being buffeted across the road at a jaunty angle on a high moorland road then Shap Fell was for you last night. I was glad to arrive back in the lights of Kendal, absolutely knackered. A last few miles through Burneside, Bowston & Ings saw me back home at 2am. What an adventure!!

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