I vividly remember last year’s festive 500 being miserable weather, raining none stop for the duration of the challenge. This year has been a little different, not exactly better but it’s certainly not been as wet, instead it’s been extremely cold.
On day two the temperature plummeted and I experienced some unexpected snow/black ice.
Black ice is without a doubt one of those things you ‘stumble’ upon and stumble I sure did…
The main roads were fine but a soon as I came to the backroads going towards Harrogate I was on the floor within minutes.
I saw it coming, the patchy damp spots were incredibly desiving especially as the sun rose, going extremely slowly I came to a right turn and the front end just went from beneath me. Luckily I was without injury, baring a small bump on my thigh and slight covering of mud. These conditions became quite frustrating as it took me nearly an hour to do 5 Kilometres, albeit it was a beautiful 5 Km but after the first fall it left my confidence in the ditch where I fell. It also became quite challenging determining whether the roads we’re now thawing and damp or it was still black ice.
Getting to Harrogate proved a lot more difficult then expected. My original plan was to catch the Prologue Coffee shop ride and loop out the back of that for another 50/60Km, sadly with the ice I knew there was no way I’d make it in time.
I’m not very familiar with Harrogate or that side of Yorkshire so it was quite a nice change from the usual routes I’ve taken in the past. Knaresborough added a really nice touch to the route especially after all the ice I’d experienced on the way out.
I arrived at Prologue about 45 minutes after the cafe ride had gone. After a quick coffee and cake it was back on the road. The fall had left me feeling a little shaken and I knew I had two options returning back to Leeds – Either a busy A road or the treacherous ice ridden back roads that I’d already experienced.
I decided to stick with the main roads in order to avoid further falls and any potential injuries and made my way back to Leeds at haste.
All in all the ride was probably one of the most beautiful & serene rides I’ve experienced all year.