Wetherby – Masham, Thursday 28th September 2023, 72 miles

Just 5 of us headed out on Mike B’s Masham ride. We took the well-ridden road to Kirkby Overblow and descended to Burn Bridge. Climbing out on Hill Foot Lane, we had to dismount and stride over two foot of freshly laid tarmac and ignore the road-mending joker who thought it was too dangerous! Down to Beckwithshaw, giving Mike his first crack at a decent descent – Pot Bank. Regrouping at the army college we headed for Hampsthwaite via Burley Bank Lane ( still no “marching troops” Kath?). The packhorse bridge was reopened so we headed up Clint Bank Lane and on to Shaw Mills. Cut Throat Lane, was it named by a cyclist? Apparently this sinister-sounding Lane was nothing more evil than a “shortcut”!? Again regrouping at the top PeteD and NickH decided to dismount and take in the view, luckily the high air temperature prevented steam being seen! Mike guided us on through Grantley and up a rather pleasant Lane to Laverton. Geoff’s infamous “ Cock Corner” was the next target, via Kirby Malzeard and then the signed Lane to Ringbeck. Alas, that famous bachelor’s crook in the road, no longer sports that gang of feathered crowers – probably tastefully evacuated by a “man in au Vin”? Anyway on, over the top and onto the descent past Swinton Hall, Mike’s tucked dive down towards Masham was thwarted by yet another, even slower-cooked “ man in a van”

A very good lunch was provided by the Border Cafe, were there was a bit of banter, classic cars I think?

Sean (Guisley), abandoned us from here and headed solo for west Leeds and his mandatory ton of miles, sorry mate don’t know your surname? The now Fab Four made their way back owert moor to Grewelthorpe and through Malzeard again and on to Galphay. The sun came out as we hit the city. Leaving Ripon passing the race course to the Skelton road, the welcome, previously scarce flatland was soon tainted by an increasingly fierce, unbroken SSW headwind to Boroughbridge.

And then there were three. I left Nick, Pete and Mike here to make their way via the Dunsfords. Home to Knaresborough for me. I soon realised the wind was becoming a pain and I didn’t envy Peter’s trek to the Garforth area one bit. Felt really sorry for him as I downed my first pint! Honest. I had over 72 miles ( that’s a big 116km – you audaxers) including around 1650m gained elevation (5413 feet, 4 and 3/4 inches). Pete probably had another 20ml on top of that! Phenomenal.

Thanks Mike for a good route.