Well Graham "Le Terrier" Orr has gone an' done it!
Graham invited friends and otherwise to join him on a final recce ride over the full Le Terrier course. Tim Norton and Andrew McCracken, both veterans of the original Le T Long Course (Andrew on a tandem and pictured above just about to set out last year) stepped up to the 'oche'. Here is Graham's account of the ride in his own words - and spelling....................
Saturday 7th May 2011.
Gathered at Williamsons Park, Graham Orr, Andrew McCracken & Tim Norton. Set off about 8.15ish. I was certainly the apprehensive one of the 3 even though I have more miles in me than usual for the time of year. I have been trying to keep up with Tim, but he is already passed 1600 and just come back from a week in Majorca and a quick spin round the Lakes from Lancaster taking in Wrynose & Hardknot. I don't need to say anything about Andrews fitness as he has done Ironmen, Bob Graham Round etc.
Off we go, steady pace for Andrew, perhaps 1 gear too high for me, but hey ho they can wait. Soon down Condor Bottom, straight through the crossroads and onto the first climb of Jubilee Tower. I don't really class this as a climb today because my mind is thinking about how far this ride is, I know what is coming!!
Over Jubillee Tower and down the fast descent and onto Marshaw then straight down to Scorton, passing the excellent Priory Cafe. I was interested to see how the next section rode as it is new. It is very good with an excellent long climb up Long Lane (just how many Long lanes do we have around here?) then turn right in Oakenclough bringing us back onto the original 77mile route. The section to Chipping is very pleasant, good views, quiet roads, not hilly. Ave speed up to now 13mph and we haven't been hanging around.
The sweetshop in Chipping is the oldest continually working shop in England but we didn't have time for any of that, straight through passed the Wild Boar and onto Whitewell where the 67mile route carries straight on to Dunsop Bridge. Not for us today, we turn right and climb up through Cow Ark. This is another climb that's not really a climb, but it is still a long way upwards. Once on top this section of the route is stunning with views to die for. We speed down into Holden, but this year we go straight through and head for Bolton by Bowland (Tim did say how it should be pronounced, but I think he was showing off with his Yaaarkshire dialect). A left turn takes us onto a new section, a different section, not the usual Terrier road. This one will ride fast if a group can form all the way to Wigglesworth. Next is Rathmell with a left turn at 'The Reading Room' (how many villages have one of them!) and back into Terrier roads. This works well and whoever plotted this section deserves a beer as it carries on the route without going onto the A65. Infact I don't think any of the route is on an A road. Further on we stop under the railway bridge to put on our wet jackets and the cloud is down.
New paragraph to highlight that this is where the ride starts to nibble at you. It's a decent climb to the top of Bowland Knots with the wind coming into our left shoulders. Over the top and that very fast descent with views to die for (if the cloud would lift for us) and down through Gisburn Forest, passing Mountain Bikers on the bridge of the reservoir. Another fast section took us past a guy with a fully loaded bike and down the sweeping bends to the Cafe in Slaidburn.
I cannot speak too highly of this Cafe, the host is chatty, offers to fill your bottles, great scones, flapjack and a pot of tea. What more could we want!! When we are getting ready to leave, the guy with the fully laden bike arrives and gets us to guess where he is from. AM got it first time - Denmark, bravo. Apparently he is touring the UK. Next up is a personal favourite, Cross O Greet. This will look good on June 5th as all riders now have this climb, so it should be quite a busy section. The descent that follows is possibly the fastest section and with a left turn took us all the down to Ivah and then down a bit more and over the bridge where the climb of Wray Fell begins. This will test a few, it's not huge, but it's damned hard. Once on top though it's jackets off, the sun is out and the views of Morecambe Bay and The Lakes are absolutely stunning. Enjoy it while you can as it is going to get harder once we turn left in Wray and climb up towards Roeburndale
On the first climb when we turn at the shop, I was telling Tim & Andrew about Dick Hill.It's another one of those little climbs that are all over this ride, when we got to the bungalow on the left, the road just rears up, it's not that long, but it's tough with about 92miles in your legs. It could be 30%ish, but who is going to measure it as we carried on like convicts going to be executed. My personal worry was between the 2nd & 3rd gate, I always find it hard and was wondering if I would get off!! Sure enough, down the 1:5, fast over the little bridge, up past the little church (don't be fooled, not everything is little here) and through the first gate of what we call the Roeburndale section. I do the honours at the second gate as I don't want to hold anyone up. Pulling like hell on the bars, I know if I get round this righthander then I will grovel the rest of the climb. Got there,my personal nemesis vanquished. Tim and Andrew do the honours and I go straight through the third gate and down the steepest? section to the fourth gate which I open in time for my buddies to come through and ride straight through and up the very steep hairpin. I close the gate which I use to balance myself whilst clipping in, off we go, Jesus this is hard I can't make it. Quick peep at the rear mech and it's in a 22 tooth sprocket!! No chance, back down to the gate and put it into a 27 tooth sprocket and off we go. Whilst heading for the fith gate I realise the I rode my toughest section in 39x22, brain must be addled!
Gathered together again after the fith gate, we only have The Scout Camp and Stocka Bank left to climb, easy peasy eh.. The Scout Camp is a two section hill and both sections are hard especially with the miles we have done. I am at the back as usual. On the second section past the farm I got cramp, cramp that I have never had before. A muscle in my left thigh was growing right in front of me, I could still ride, infact I think it was better to ride. It seemed like there was something alive in my leg, like a scene out of Alien. Got to the top and told the fellas and Andrew produced some 'salt sticks', 2 little tablets from the US (no not Belgium as Tim said), Andrew said they work instantly.. Cramp, has someone had cramp? Anyway carefully down off The Scout Camp and slowly up Stocka Bank, all of a sudden the ride doesn't seem to have been that difficult as we cycle in the Park.
I don't know the actual figures yet, suffice to say, we set off about 8.15 and finished about 5.10 which is not that quick or is it? We had a decent stop in the Cafe at Slaidburn possibly 30mins, so that would make a ride time of approx 81/2 hours. I remember posting on a forum that no one will ride this at 20mph. I think I am right. Anyone who gets near 6 hours is going to be special, they are not just my words but the cyclists that I mostly followed round.
Technical bits that I know (or think I know): I rode gears 39x27, Tim 34x26? Andrew 36x32?
Thanks Tim & Andrew, a memorable day. See you next year for Le Terrier the Olympian, ouch!!!!!!!!!!!!
Andrew's Sat Nav data reads:
I thought it was about time I did a complete check over the new route to gather GPS details "on the road" rather than online mapping so I checked the route yesterday with my Garmin 705. I've uploaded the data and you can view the result and download a file for your own GPS unit from the link below.
Any problems get in touch with me at bob(at)bobmuir.co.uk (obviously replace (at) with @ )