The Circuit of the Dales, promoted by Nelson Wheelers, is an early season classic around the roads of the Yorkshire Dales. Starting off in Ingleton, the course heads West towards Kirby Lonsdale, then north up to Sedbergh. From Sedbergh, it climbs up towards Gardsale, before the descent into Hawes. At Hawes, there is the hardest climb of the race, as you go up onto the exposed moors around Ribblehead. This moor road takes you past Ribblehead Viaduct before finishing just outside Ingleton. This year there was a full field with 153 entrants. This entry included quite a few road riders, and a big turnout from Velosure-Giordana Racing Team. There was a good prize list to celebrate Nelson Wheeler’s Centenary anniversary; and the 66th running of the Circuit of the Dales.
With Rapha Condor JLT racing in Japan / Asia, last year’s winner Richard Handley was absent. The organiser mentioned the only previous winner in the race was Martin Brass (1991).This year James Gullen of Velosure-Giordana Racing Team won in a very good time of 2.02.37. I finished second in 2.03.33. 3rd was Pete Williams (Haribo Beacon) 2:05:19
- 1st lady was Nina Benson Ilkley (CC) with 2-46-56.
- 1st Tricycle: Geoff Booker (Oxonians CC) 2-58
- 1st Vet: Simon Bridge Manchester Wheelers 2-06
In the past 8 days, I’ve ridden over 400 miles in an unusual burst of getting the miles in. It was helped by finishing teaching and a period of good weather. With so many miles in the legs (including a 120 mile TDF stage on Tues) I wasn’t sure whether I would come to race with great fitness – or tiredness and overtraining. I think it was a bit of both, but riding a lot does seem to make you fitter.
I spent quite a bit of time in the preceding days nervously checking the weather forecast. I always get cold doing the Circuit of the Dales, and that’s with dry weather! With the predicted rain, I spent a lot of time trying to weigh up how much clothes I should take. Should I take a spare rain jacket in case of puncture? Is the aerodynamic cost worth the greater piece of mind? In the end, the weather was much better than predicted. Apart from a few showers, it mercifully stayed dry. Continue Reading →