BerWin: Norham to Horsley

Otterburn ranges

I have a phobia about bridges, so when we crossed a narrow one, open railings at each side and just wide enough to walk side-by-side with the bike, my heart was in my mouth. We dropped down the other side and looked back up at the crossing, just as 15 road bikers in team kit of the Early Morning Crew thundered across at full tilt. What a good job I wasn’t still teetering across when they arrived.

In other news, I can report that a sweaty man, grinding slowly up a hill in Northumbria in July attracts a gazillion flies. Luckily they don’t seem to bite. The longest climb of the day was up to the Otterburn ranges, and it was something of a classic. 4km of climbing including 2.5km over 5%, on a smooth military road across wild moorland I recalled my cycling mentor, Mike Spencer telling me once, 180km into a 200km Audax, that the next hill was ‘best attacked’. This one – at least at current fitness levels – was best defended; lowest gear, lowest cadence that will keep the pedals turning, don’t speed up when the slope abates and use the time to recover.

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