Medium-plus Steady
We assembled in thick mist and what felt like freezing temperatures and immediately felt sorry for Tall Tim who arrived, optimistically, in shorts.  Steve Bungay kindly took a cohort of Medium riders for a “light” version of the Plus route and ten others followed me.
We didn’t stop much twixt Harrogate and Little Almscliffe in a vain attempt to keep warm.  We bumped into Caroline and ladies who joined us for the team photo before venturing off, possibly in the direction of Sophie’s.  We don’t often turn left towards Lindley Reservoir which, we agreed, had all the appearance of a Scottish loch in particularly dreich weather!  Undeterred, little lambs and dancing daffodils sprang up everywhere, clearly enjoying Easter Sunday. After Leathley, Gia, Paul and Debbie peeled off for an early coffee in Pool to allow time for the day to un-gloom a bit and the remaining seven (Monica, Peter J, Yvonne, James, Jim, Maris and Me) pressed on to Wetherby in search of warmth and sustenance.  Wetherby was busy with an Artisan Market but we managed to find room in the Gourmet Café. There were a lot of queasy looking children in there, clutching half eaten eggs but the service was efficient and we needed a substantial snack.
As we left Wetherby, suddenly blue skies opened up and the sun beamed down and we enjoyed a brisk, much flatter, second half of the day, discarding jackets at regular intervals. Nice to have a moan about feeling too hot!  All in all, a grand day out and we were glad to have got passed the 50 mile mark – all good training for the challenge day.  In fact, by the time they got home, Monica and Yvonne had clocked up 64.4 miles and 4,104 ft of climb. Helen T
Paul, Debby and Gia stopped at Pool for a coffee and to get warmed up, meeting Steve Bungay and his team there. Paul returned via Almscliffe Crag, Debby and Gia following the route to Castley and Dunkeswick, then to Sicklinghall and through Stockeld Park to Spofforth and back to the show ground when the sun finally came out. Those weather people told us differently but unlike the crew of 20 from Seacroft Wheelers, many of whom were in shorts we still had our winter glad rags on. 38 miles.
Medium-plus Brisk
Goodness it was chilly today – going up past Little Almscliff plus some of the other climbs helped but there was a cold wind all day. Mark T. left us around Kearby & then Emma went on her way at Tancred whilst the remaining four dined in the café alone. Outside it was still as cold as it was when we went in – not that the Herdwick sheep in the paddock seemed to be bothered. A kamikaze-style pheasant almost took Andy out on the way back but otherwise T1, T3 & Richard all made it back into Harrogate just as some of the promised warmer weather seemed to be arriving. 55 miles. Tall Tim.