Team JMC mountain biker Mike Sudder braved incredibly wet weather on the 1st July and took part in the Pennine X – a charity challenge that starts on the Yorkshire side of the Pennines and sneaks over the border into Lancashire and back again. 30-odd miles of rain, mud, hills, bikes and sheep. Perfect!

click for Mike’s account….

On the 1st of July you’d expect to be riding out in the sunshine. When will the summer begin ?

The rain was lashing down as 135 riders set off from Bradshaw at 9am. The first part of the route took us over Gamp Hill and down past Scammonden Dam, next to the M62, then over Ringstone Edge Moor into Rishworth. The next stage was the 4.5 mile climb  over Rishworth Moor towards Blackstone Edge. As we climbed the wind got stronger and the rain became horizontal. As we approached the summit you could only see about 50 yds ahead, I’d thought about putting my lights on my bike earlier, but then thought this is July how dark can it get at 10.30am.

Coming off the hills down towards Hollingworth Lake, the wind calmed a little but the rain didn’t. The route then climbed again up Rakewood and under the M62 viaduct and over Bleakedgate Moor, Denshaw Moor and finally Close Moss, which was only passable on foot, due to the foot of mud/sludge along the trail, finally dropping down into Marsden. I stopped just outside Marsden to assist a fellow challenger with a flat and a knackered pump. The final climb was all road from Marsden back to the start at Bradshaw.

Both the route and weather were challenging, but I managed to post a time of 4hrs 6mins which is a benchmark for me to beat next year (would have been under 4hrs if I’d not played the good Samaritan). At the finish, as I drank tea and poured water from my shoes it felt like I’d swam a length of Hollingworth Lake rather than ridden round it.

Despite the weather, I’m now looking for my next challenge!