On Sunday the Nelson Section of the Cyclists’ Touring Club held the annual one hundred miles endurance ride, the distance having to be govered in seven or eight hours by the men, and nine hours for the ladies. Being, as I thought, full of “pep,” I essayed to do it in seven hours,
Previous to leaving home on the fateful morning, I went over my machine with a pruning knife, cutting out all surplus weight. Departing full of optimism, I made my way to the starting place at Higherford, arriving there at nine o’clock, half an hour before the start. This gave the runs secretary quite a shock, because I usually arrive
later than the stated time.
Cyclists of both sexes were continually rolling up, until at twenty minutes past nine rearly forty entrants were awaiting the word "Go!” However, our Press photographer was waiting to do his stuff, so he ordered the various groups about until he had got all the snaps he wanted. At this point, one of the ladies discovered that she had a puncture, so along with another perfect little gentleman I made a hurried repair.
The organiser clambered on to a high wall, and in a squeaky voice, which he fondly imagined to be a bull-like roar, gave the word “Go!” The result was a medley of human forms dashing about looking for their bicycles, and, finding them, tearing down the road to Barrowford. This burst of speed did not last long, however, for the course took us up the road to Wheatley. Here I started reaching for my second wind (if any), and, failing to find it, I slowed down, riders panting by on both sides of me, until two of the weaker sex crawled by on a tandem. This was too much for me, and, making a desperate effort, I managed to keep with them.
The course lay through Whalley and Preston to Cabus, thirty-five and a half miles from the start. Here the riders compulsory half-hour stop for refreshments. Up to this point a strong head wind had to be faced, which took toll, the strong forging ahead and arriving over an hour before the stragglers. !
After the stop, the riders continued to Lancaster, and thence via Hornby and Ingleton to Settle. This part of the course being in an easterly direction, we had the wind at our backs, and, using a three-speed gear was able to make up all the time I had lost in the early struggle, and gain a few minutes on my schedule. I arrived at Settle just in time to see the first group leaving for the final stretch.
Calculating the distanct and time, I found that the small party I was with had one wour and forty minutes to reach the finish, a distance of 27 miles. Several of the club members, who were spectators, kindly informed me that I should fail. This put me on my mettle, and after my half-hour stay I tore away in a rainstorm, determined to do or die. Fortunately, good going was encountered to Skipton, and gaining a few more minutes, I arrived at the finish just in time to check in and sink gratefully on to a form in a near-by sweet shop.
After the time limit had expired, it was found that fourteen riders had successfully completed the course within seven hours, tweive within eight hours, and three ladies within nine hours.
In due course they will be presented, at the annual dinner, with certificates, which they can have suitably framed, and in their old age show with pride to their grandchildren. For myself, never again! The press secretary informs me that I said the same thing last year.