Day 9, Sunday, 16th September, 2018

Outlane to Hawes, 103 km, 1700 metres of ascent. By far the hardest day for me. It was very wet and very windy as we set off from Outlane and so it continued until well after lunch. The hotel is at the top of quite a high hill. On the descent I was very nervous and apprehensive about grip of the tyres on the road and was lacking confidence. Why? Is it lack of practice in the windy/wet conditions, or some irrational fear of . . something? Don’t know, never felt like this on the bike before. Had to wag a finger at myself and say ‘get on with it scaredy cat’. The feeling took several hours to wear off. The feeling persisted throughout the big climb over Wadsworth Moor and the descent to Sowerby Bridge. Pressed on to the cobbled hill in Haworth, where we stopped for mid-morning coffee and cake. Another big climb was needed to reach Skipton and the lunch stop. Feeling a bit better by this time and a stop for sustainance steadied the ship somewhat. I guess the rain and wind relenting helped but spirits gradually rose and the feeling of engaging with the ride and beginning to gain confidence began to return. After lunch the weather improved a lot, the rain ameliorated and the wind became less pestacious. After Skipton the climbs became easier (was that in reality or because I had cheered up?) as we passed through Grassington to the afternoon cafe at Kettlewell - Zarina’s cafe there. Stocked up on tea and cakes ready for tackling Langstrothdale Chase. It took me 2 hours for the ride to Hawes, walking at least three times on the very severe gradients. Big views though - Pen y Ghent over to the left, Ingleborough and Whernside there, too. Arrived Hawes at 1730.

Lovely meet-up with Georgina and Ellie and family, who had driven over from Weardale, where they were on holiday. Wendy and Derek, Robbie’s in-laws, were also there, so it was a delightful extended family chat. More on why Wendy and Derek were there tomorrow.

Weather forecast for the next stage looks good and climbs look a lot less challenging. No mechanicals to report but my electronical with the Garmin repeated itself and the report is in two halves again. Oh, well, the Strava record looks ok. Today was a good test of my system for keeping the phone and Garmin charged up in wet conditions. All worked well. I was very worried about this before setting off.

I may pluck up courage and discuss a basic, fundamental, foundation problem connected with (dominating?) cycling. Watch this space and all will be revealed; well not exactly revealed but talked about.