CRC RIDE – BACK TO THE HILLS – 14/05/16
The previous weekend the Cottingham Road Club ( CRC ) outing had been a pan flat ride ( well nearly ) to Naburn near York. The weather had been glorious, the first warm and sunny weekend of the year.
The cafe stop was idyllic, lounging in the sunshine at York Marina on the River Ouse. There was beer quaffing and at least one of our number seriously contemplated a dip in the river.
Luckily Geoff was not aware of the main sewage treatment works for the city of York less than a mile upstream.
43 olympic swimming pools worth of sewage processed every day and yes I actually googled that stat.
That’s a lot of sh…. ” Hi Alan, that was a great ride on Sunday wasn’t it ?! ”
Roll forward a few days to the Wednesday CRC starter ride and Geoff was still buzzing about the weekend
” Surely, that is what cycling is all about ! ” he said to me
Yes it is Geoff, yes it is.
Things were going to be vey different this weekend though….the hills were back.
ONCE MORE UNTO THE BREACH
The morning was cold with a strong wind coming in from the north.
A 52 mile course lay ahead of us starting from The Fair Maid pub in Cottingham and then taking in numerous local climbs. Brilliant.
I arrived at the start point with just a few minutes to spare. We had about 20 riders in total. The always amusing ” split up into groups ” protocol was about to start.
“OK ” said Adam “I’ll take one group and it’ll be the slower group. Alan, we don’t have anybody else so will you lead the other group ? ”
A ringing endorsement if ever I’ve heard one. I would run through a brick wall for that guy.
” Yes no problem Adam ”
After promising it wouldn’t be fast ( because it wouldn’t be ) I managed to coax 9 riders to come along with me and we had a nice size group of 10.
I am not a natural leader. On the few occasions I have been a ride leader I only have one objective and that is to ensure that all riders who start with me….. finish.
If there is an odd limb hanging off then that is OK. So long as it is still attached I count that as a successful ride.
OUT TO BEVERLEY MIND THE COWS
We rolled out of The Fair Maid (not drunk but on our bikes) shortly after 9 am and headed for Dunswell and then onto Beverley via our usual Long Lane route.
A normally flat and zippy section made a lot harder by the stiff head wind.
As we wended our way through the streets of Beverley Steve had a bit of an off.
Well it was more than a bit of an off to be fair. Having to pull up sharply at a junction and unable to get a foot out in time gravity did the rest and dumped him unceremoniously onto the tarmac. That’s gotta hurt.
Whilst his limbs were flailing about quite a bit they were still very much attached and so it was all good as far as I was concerned.
Setting off again we turned left after the medieval North Bar town gate (thank you Google ) to make our way over Beverley Westwood pastures.
I am advised by someone who has received proper training for being a ride leader ( the Missus ) that one should risk assess the route in advance.
When I started out on the ride that morning there was no way I would have anticipated rampaging cattle in Beverley as a potential hazard on my risk assessment.
I thought I was doing a good job pointing out manhole covers and pot holes. But what is the correct signal when a bunch of bovines start stampeding for the road ?
Rather unimaginatively I pointed at the beasts and shouted ” Cow ! ”
If those cows had come out onto the road it would have been udder chaos.
OK, perhaps it wasn’t quite a stampede and maybe it was only one animal that kind of ambled over towards the road. But she looked a bit of a trouble maker that one.
Once we were across the cattle grid we were safe. There was no way any cow or Katusha Tour De Yorkshire rider could follow us now.
KIPLINGCOTES IS DEFINITELY A HILL
After Bishop Burton, Cherry Burton and Etton we homed in on our first climb of the day which was Kiplingcotes Lane up to the A1079.
After the ride there was a bit of a debate about whether Kiplingcotes should be counted as a hill or not.
The dictionary definition of a hill is as follows :
“A naturally raised area of land, not as high or craggy as a mountain ”
Strava has Kiplingcotes Lane as a 1.5 mile climb with an average gradient of 3 %. It’s a raised area of land, not as high as a mountain and I saw no crags.
So it’s a hill. Deal with it !
And it’s a hill that can mess with your head.
At the bottom there is an easy incline that draws you into going too fast and then presents you to the start of a 7 % ramp that, if you maintain your speed, will seriously sap your energy levels.
After the 7 % section the more gradual incline returns but it goes on and on and on………and on.
At the bottom my approach was going to be very sensible. It was the first hill of the day so I was going to take it steady. Definitely !
How many times have I gone too hard up the first hill of the day and paid for it ? Not this time.
When I got to the top I was absolutely shattered as I’d gone as hard as I possibly could. What ?! How the hell did that happen ?
I blame it all on Paul who set off at a challenging pace on the lower slopes dragging us all with him. Yes definitely all Paul’s fault.
“That’s got to be a PR for me coming up there ” I said gasping for air.
” I’m afraid not ” said Stuart ” as you have stopped 20 yards short of the junction which is where the segment finishes ”
HIGH HUNSLEY CLIMB
After Kiplingcotes Lane there was a little more climbing to do before a fast descent down into Sancton and then a cut across to Cliffe Road via Houghton Lane.
With the wind at our backs it was full steam ahead down Cliffe Road until the short sharp shock of Common Hill into Hotham.
There was a couple of wrong turns taken here and I took a bit of a good natured barracking along the lines of
“Who’s leading this ride ?”
Shut up you lot you’ve got all your limbs haven’t you ?!
Through Hotham and up Pitbalk Hill, another short sharp one, we were soon approaching the crossing of the A1034 and the climb up to High Hunsley also known as the Rudstone Walk Climb.
The whole thing up to the High Hunsley junction is about 2 miles long. The first half mile is the killer section. It is steep maxing out at about 10 % and has you looking forlornly ahead to the brow of the hill wondering when you will ever get there.
Then, as you get to the brow the incline continues to rise steadily for another mile and a half. This section is very much like the last section of Kiplingcotes……..only worse.
Gamely we all set off to enter our own little world of pain on the first steep section. Except Stuart who glided up quickly and effortlessly.
How does he do that ?
I mean apart from the lean and fit physique and many miles training on his bike every week. What is his secret ??
Back in my world I tagged onto the back of Phil to help me get up the steep bit. When we got over the brow reluctantly I thought I should return the favour and go in front which I did.
Slowly we clawed our way back up to Stuart and Steve who had slowed right down to let us catch up. I was sure I would be getting some good pain face shots of Phil now.
We had a regroupment at the High Hunsley junction where Pete decided to leave us and head for home. He is just coming back from a long period off the bike and sensibly decided that enough was enough for today. He will be back.
So we bade farewell to Pete ( who definitely had all his limbs when he left us, success ! ) and we were down to 9.
The good thing about coming up Burgate is that means you are not coming up Trundlegate.
I was kinda looking forward to coming up Burgate as I hadn’t done this climb for over a year and hopefully I would demonstrate my improved level of fitness and get a PR.
On the other hand if I didn’t get a PR this would prove how useless I was and that the last 12 months were a total waste of time. No pressure then.
Leaving the High Hunsley junction we took a left to go down Whin Lane and Trundlegate. What a wonderful feeling it is going down Trundlegate as opposed to coming up it.
Almost as good as approaching the turning in South Newbald to come up Trundlegate …..and then riding past it.
But unfortunately at some point we had to come back up the hill and in North Newbald we turned up Burgate and started the climb back to the High Hunsley junction.
Over eager to get a PR and thus prove myself not to be a waste of space I started off in front.
The ” Cote De Newbald ” climb as it was known in the inaugural Tour De Yorkshire is just under 2 miles long and consists of an initial 7 % kick up out of the village which then shallows out before taking off again up to 10 % as the road bends round to the right.
At the end of this second ramp the last mile consists of a flat section and a final ramp up of 3 % to the finish.
About half way up…..OK shortly after we left the village Stuart came cruising past followed by Steve and Paul. Stuart got about 30 yards in front and then took his foot off the gas to keep the rest of us interested.
Now with someone to aim for I set about trying to close the gap to Paul and Steve in what can only be described as a workmanlike fashion.
When I got to them I was making chuffing sounds like a steam engine. You know I am trying when I start to sound like a steam engine.
Briefly I dared to dream and got back in front of Stuart who then merely engaged second gear and sped off to the top of the climb.
That was enough for this particular steam engine to blow a gasket.
And did I get a PR ? Well yes I managed to shave a few seconds off. My fragile self worth remains intact for now.
At the top of the climb out of North Newbald we passed Adam’s group waiting to go down Trundlegate.
Tony attempted some sledging of Adam but in the excitement got carried away and got his name wrong calling him Alan.
“I’ll be honest with you Tony that needs work ” I said.
The sledger really has to get the name of the sledge-ee right to make the necessary impact.
Later Tony compounded his error by saying sorry to Adam on social media for getting his name wrong.
That’s no good Tony, Adam owns you now.
After finishing the climb out of North Newbald we made our way over to South Cave via another wrong turn.
( You’ve all got your limbs haven’t you ?!! Give me a break ! )
Then we segued over to Brantingham.
Brantingham Dale actually features in Simon Warren’s new book Cycling Climbs Of Yorkshire. OK it only scores 2 out of 10 on the Warren scale of climbs but that equates to about 8 out of 10 on my scale.
I have described this climb a few times now in blogs so I wont bore you ( more ) with doing it again.
Suffice to say it seemed to be a total rerun of the climb out of North Newbald.
First there was a plucky workmanlike effort followed by steam engine sounds, Stuart cruising past and finally gaskets blowing.
At the top we all gathered together ready for the final stretch back to Cottingham. All 9 including myself were accounted for, no limbs on the floor and a nice downhill and flat section left to go.
Looks like I had this ride leader thing totally under control.
“No silliness down here ” I entreated . I didn’t want to throw it all away in the last few miles.
THE FINISH – NO SILLINESS PLEASE
Steve led the group down the hill past Ripplingham and down into Raywell where we took the customary left turn to head for Eppleworth.
Tony took it up going into Eppleworth and then some nutter came flying past ignoring my advice to keep things sensible for the last few miles.
This rider just gave it everything he had to finish the ride off not giving a damn about keeping the group together or anything. What a plonker !
Yes …I got a bit carried away.
Not to worry it had still been a great ride and as we all gathered back in The Fair Maid pub car park I felt a little self congratulation was in order.
I had been entrusted with the safety of the group and I had delivered.
As I did a head count at the end there was some internal high fiving going on that all 7 of us had made it back safely…..wait a minute….. 7 ?!!
( No cyclists were harmed on this ride – although I did lose 2 at the end )
I am taking part in the 2016 Ride London – Surrey 100 and this year I am doing it to raise money for The British Red Cross. Click on the red Virgin Money Giving box to donate. Thank you very much.