James Thompson took part in the Tour de Bolton at the weekend, here is his report:

All week, the weather forecast had claimed that Sunday would be dry, but I really should’ve known better! My new bike had not seen any wet weather, but that was all to change.

Setting off in heavy Pennine rain was the only downside to this cracking sportive event around the hills of Greater Manchester and Lancashire. Leaving Smithies behind, the route headed north east toward the stunning town of Ramsbottom and the 26% gradient of the Rake – always nice to cruise past a few dismounted and walking competitors. As we then headed north towards Burnley, the highest altitude of the day (1,240ft) rolled along as we ground up through the forest of Rossendale. The biggest and fastest descent saw us quickly exit past Burnley (not a bad thing for a Blackpool fan!) and begin to head back west.

Lots of ups and downs followed as we headed back toward Chorley via Accrington, Clayton-le-Moors and Pleasington. By this time the rain was long gone and the sun was out to see us through. With the finish in sight, the event organisers were in mischievous mood as the climbs of Anglezarke and Rivington were challenging for tired legs.

Glad to drop back into the finish and happy with a comfortable 4 hours for 60 miles and over 5,000ft of climbing. A rather un-athletic burger and cup o’ tea saw out the successful and well-managed event.

Photo courtesy of our friends at SportSunday.