Sunday, May 11 – CTC Century Ride

Again the annual ‘century’ ride was being held, and again I was taking part in it.  The morning was wet and gloomy, and as time went on I abandoned all hope of Tom coming over.  Just after 9am the rain ceased, and when I made a start (9.40am) the sun was just showing itself.  Fortysix of us started on the last stroke of 10am, by the Town Hall clock above us.  Quite a crowd turned out to see us off.  Chorley New road was reached via St George’s road.  A westerly cross wind threatened to trouble us, but being ‘bunched’, we in the middle did not feel it.  At Chorley, (10.50) we were five minutes inside schedule.  One punctured here, and another at Whittle.  Preston saw us right on the minute.  At Fulwood, a motor dashed across the road in front of us, throwing us into some confusion, whilst one chap ran full into it, smashing his forks.  We left the leader taking particulars.  Faster now we pressed on to gain the loss, reaching Garstang with ten minutes to spare, and lunch at Galgate twenty minutes inside.  Here, one sustained three punctures.  This gave us fifty minutes for lunch.

Restarting, we took the steady climb to Scotforth easily, then a dash down through the streets of Lancaster, over the Lune and on to Slyne, five minutes inside.  Bolton-le-Sands, 8 minutes, Carnforth 12 minutes, and along with glorious views of the fells before us, to Burton in Kendal, where we had gained 15 minutes.  We lost that in checking at the turning point.  Now we faced Lancaster – and a rather hot wind.  Two of us broke away, reaching Lancaster again 20 minutes inside.  A stiff pull up to Scotforth, down to Galgate, and along the Garstang road.  This road has been recently tarred, which, with little stones, transferred itself to our clothing.  We were also getting the force of a hot sun.  Half an hour at Garstang!  The next three miles to Brock were easier, but my companion started to lag, so I broke away, arriving at Brock for tea first in with half an hour to spare.  My companion came in, and after a much needed wash, we devoured a fine tea, being almost finished when the crowd arrived.  We left a little earlier than the rest, intending to take it easy up to Chorley.  The seven miles to Preston was soon covered by four of us, for we had again succumbed to the ‘Century Race’.  One went on, and we carried on a little slower to Chorley.  At Adlington, another left us, and two caught us up.  From Horwich, we sped along the two miles to the finishing point, the Beehive Inn, where a large crowd awaited us.  To my satisfaction, I found I was third at 6 hours 23 minutes, 37 minutes in hand.  Before 7pm, thirtyone riders had qualified, including two ladies, fifteen forfeited their claim, for punctures were rife that day.  One had six punctures, another three.  I was lucky.                                                 106 miles