Today’s stage was Leeds to Harrogate via the Yorkshire Dales. Around 191km with 2,100m of climbing. I think it’s fair to say it is representative of what I should expect over the next three weeks; there will be harder stages than today’s (including tomorrow’s) but there will also be easier ones too.
Don’t I look happy as I pose for a shot in front of Leeds Town Hall, the starting line for the Gran Depart? This may have something to do with the time it took to take a photo. I started the ride at 8 in the morning (already we’d seen scores of cyclists out on the route with the same idea). There was a bit of an early scare when my bike transmission started making slightly alarming noises; this turned out to be a bent chain link which was solved by replacing the faulty item, along additional care from the mechanic in the excellent Skipton Chevin Cycles. Back on my way again.
As expected the views were picture postcard, even if some of the roads were pretty brutal (who on earth builds a road straight up a hill?). Kidstones Pass and Swaledale in particular were lovely. If you haven’t visited the Dales I recommend you do.
How did I find it? It felt tough; fine for the first two thirds then I met ‘the man with the hammer‘ 160km in which made the final section slow, painful going. I trundled into Harrogate at quarter to six feeling slightly broken. A couple of things to learn from this – eat more and pace myself better. Let’s see if I can apply these tomorrow.