"I'll kick you in the nuts if you wake me up."
The exact words my fiancé Rachel said to me as I set the alarm for 03:00.
Normally, I’m up for 06:00, but today was a special Friday. A mission to do something far from the norm.
A simple objective: Get to the top of Ingleborough for sunrise, then ride back to the vans to work to on time. Ingleborough is the 724m flat-topped member of the 3 peaks, a trio of fells set in a triangle in the Yorkshire Dales. Time frames were tight with sunrise set for 05:56 and a 45 minute drive to get to the bottom of the bridleway, we would have to commit if were to make it back to the factory for 08:00. Would it be worth the super early wake up?
The team was an elite squad of Hope Technology sales staff. These are the best of the best, known for their impeccable telephone manner and intimate product knowledge. They also love to ride bikes so convincing them to do this ride was simple enough. A quick heads up from the computer and a ‘anyone fancy riding up Ingleborough for sunrise on Friday?’ enticed a responses of ‘hell yeah’ and a ‘sure why not.' The mission was set.
Meeting at a car park just outside Ingleton, we loaded the bags with breakfast, flasks of coffee, and set off up the track.
The bikes chosen for the ride varied:
I had my trusty HB.130, the go to bike for any type of adventure.
Claire was on her Juliana Joplin ideal for fast rolling trails
Sam…well he had chosen a Scott Spark 100mm superlight xc whip – great for the climb…maybe not so good for the steep techy downs.
The ride starts off on a typical Dales track made up of loose gravel and lined with dry stone walls. The sunlight was starting to change the night sky to a hue of blues and yellows; sunrise wasn’t far off. With the clock ticking, we went through the last gate and onto the open fell. The trail changed from a farm track to singletrack and continued upwards, ascending into the dark ahead of us. Bottom gear engaged, it was challenge after challenge along the techy route with cross drains coming at you from all angles and pieces of Limestone thrown in the mix too. All part of the ‘fun’ kept running through my mind as I popped a front wheel over another obstacle, thinking of bed. Then came the steps.
The last half mile of the bridleway pitches up and it’s hike-a-bike to the top. With the HB on the shoulders, the last bit of the climb seemed to drag on for an age. Did we miss it? Sam (with his superlight xc bike on his back) was first to the top and with it came his woops and hollas, letting us know we had made it with 5 minutes to spare. Just enough time to park the bikes up, get the camera out and prepare for a spectacular show.
And what a show it was! In windless conditions, the sun breached the top of the easterly Yorkshire moors and proceeded to rise, punching out huge beams of sunlight into the morning sky – truly awe inspiring. With brews and breakfasts in hand, we watched the day start atop a hill, not another person insight. It doesn’t get better than that. With all that the pandemic has thrown at us, it was a welcome break to take in something so simple as a sunrise, an everyday occurrence.
But our old pal time was still ticking and we had to descend back down the 4 miles we had just come up to get back to the vans, to get back to work. It was not done yet. Dropping into the descent, the body and mind was given a good shake up as the wheels pounded over the stone pitching. Brakes were heating up (Hope Tech 3 E4’s of course) but the cool morning air kept the temperature down as we pressed on, bums buzzing back tyres. Steep glorious turns on the stone steps gave way to the fast-flowing single track with the cross drains ready to snipe a tyre if you didn’t pull up enough. What had taken an hour to climb up had taken 6 minutes to ride back down. What a way to start the day.
Back through the gate and a glance at the watch indicated time was getting tight, we needed to be back at the vans asap and on the road. The last section, back down the walled track was a blur; top gear selected, out of the saddle pedalling like a racer charging for the finish line we dived off the track onto the grass slope to the road. Helmets off, bikes strapped in, engines ignited, foot on the gas, we’re not there yet.
‘Its going to be tight’ I thought pulling into the car park at the factory. Swiping the clock in card, the machine beeps and flashes the time. 07:55am. We’d made it!
On with the day of phone calls, emails and processing orders. We sat at our desks, smug with our achievement, content that the early start and the effort was 100% worth it.
Words: Rob Dodsworth
Pictures: Rob Dodsworth
Featuring: Rob Dodsworth - HB Sales | Claire Bennett - Sales and Events | Sam Mitchell - Sales