Eleven Cyclists Touring Club members met at Beaumont, all having remembered to put their clocks back the previous evening, and all anxious to have a go at the annual Freewheel contest.
The long downhill between Aughton and Gressingham again served as the testing ground, and Ray (as usual) officiated, ably assisted by our President. Our elevated position enabled us to track the showers moving along the valley, but luckily we escaped the damp. Team Graeme and Maz demonstrated their prowess at assuming a compact and aerodynamic form to triumph in a convincing manner.
The group continued to Casterton Golf Club via Kirkby Lonsdale for a celebratory morning coffee, and met up with two more members.
A brief shower on setting off again was succeeded by welcome autumnal sunshine, which lit up Casterton and Barbon Fells, as we headed up the Lune Valley and turned off to climb up to Rigmaden Park. The threat of showers had now diminished, so layers were shed in anticipation of further climbs. The first of these manifested itself in the steep pull out of the valley to Mansergh and Old Town. Further such neglected by-ways with weeds, potholes and rotting hedge clippings were to characterise much of the following seven hilly miles, as we crossed the low fells between Lunesdale and the coastal plain. The route took us past Kitridding Farm and Tarnhouse Reservoir. Between the two one rider had the double misfortune to suffer simultaneous punctures in both wheels, but new tubes were speedily installed.
Having crossed the watershed, the balcony lane between Warth and Whelstone afforded sun-drenched views down to Endmoor and beyond to the Lakes and Morecambe Bay. Once off the hills, faster progress was made via Crooklands and Milnthorpe to Beetham for a late lunch.
The homeward-bound route took us via Slack Head and Gait Barrows to Crag Foot and Carnforth, where we dispersed to our various homes. Riders were satisfied with the 48 miles covered, peppered with some hills. A good test for the legs for the time of year.
If you are interested in joining us on our relatively relaxed rides, you can find details of our Sunday and weekday rides on the website (www.ctclancaster.org.uk).
Photos from Nick Hall of the Freewheel contest last Sunday.