A Hundred, A Heist And A Hop

HUMBER HOP CHARITY RIDE – 02/07/2016

I had been casing the joint for weeks and had planned the heist meticulously.

Get up at an unfeasibly early hour on a weekend when only the birds and people up to no good are up and about. Skulk over to Vive-Le-Velo in North Ferriby and then ….do the place in !

Help myself to all kinds of cycling goodies…..after all, I’m not paying those prices !

What could possibly go wrong ?

After a 4.45 am alarm  I arrived at Vive-Le-Velo by 6.20 am suitably equipped for my criminal enterprise.

But what was this ? When the place should have been deserted, why was there a rather dishevelled Mark Ellam with a clipboard in the car park ?

Was he here to rob the place too ? Had he beaten me to the loot ?

To make matters worse a photographer snapping away from a parked car captured my startled expression. Oh no I’d walked straight into a police stakeout! You won’t take me alive copper !

” Morning Alan” said Mark ” put your name down here and sign , which one are you doing ? ”

I had to think fast on my feet.

” Err ….the middle one Mark ”

” OK buddy put 105 down on there and sign ”

And that my friends is how I came to take part in the 105 mile Humber Hop charity bike ride.

It was just a good job I had my bike and was wearing full cycling kit. How lucky was that ?!

 

THE EVENT

Normally at this point I describe the ride. It’s a winning formulae and I’m not changing it !

Only for this event there was a veritable smorgasbord of rides to choose from. All of them finished at Vive-Le-Velo and passed through the metropolis of Selby.

The menu was a la carte:

  • 73 miles road bike route, straight to Selby and back.
  • 105 mile ” 3 rivers ”  road bike route with a diversion out to Selby.
  • 125 mile ” super 3 rivers ” road bike route going all the way down to Gainsborough back up to Selby and then returning to North Ferriby.
  • 36 mile one way road bike route Selby to North Ferriby.
  • 64 mile mountain bike route to Selby and back
  • 33 mile one way mountain bike route Selby to North Ferriby.

Only the fussiest eater would find it difficult to choose something from that list.

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HUMBER TRI BEFORE THE HUMBER HOP

As well as a master criminal on the lam there was great participation from cycling enthusiasts all around the area.

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RIDERS FROM THE REVOLUTION

This included sizeable representation from local clubs. Cottingham Road Club, Sunday Girls Road Club, Revolution Road Cycling Club and The Humber Triathletes Club to name but a few.

If you were on the 105 or 125 mile ride these had been scheduled to start immediately after registration at the gobsmackingly early time of 6.30 am thus foiling my caper.

I ask you who schedules a ride to start at 6.30 am ?!

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WHERE IS THE FIRE ?

The routes for the 105 and 125 mile rides were the same up to Keadby Bridge. At this point the 125ers would head down the trent towards Gainsborough and the 105ers …wouldn’t.

So we were all going to set off together in a group made up for the most part of Cottingham Road Club ( CRC ) members.

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The 105ers AND 125ers

Looking at the route I was overjoyed to see that to leave North Ferriby we were going to go up the stiff climb of Woodgates Lane.

I ask you who puts a steep hill at the very start of a 100 mile plus ride ?!

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Still I’m sure everyone was going to be sensible and not go crazy at the start. There were a lot of speedsters in the group but surely there was no need to put the afterburners on. After all this wasn’t Top Gun.

Wrong again.

“Whoa, Whoa …where’s the fire ?! ” I bleated but they were already too far ahead to even hear me complain.

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JOHN – ON HIS WAY TO EXTINGUISH A FIRE !

The pace continued to be brisk over the Humber Bridge and up the equally testing Gravel Pit Road.

At the top of Gravel Pit Road I can only imagine the conversation that took place at the front. They must have been really worried now

“Where the hell is that fire ?! We are going to be in SOOO much trouble ! ”

The route then took us through South Ferriby and up towards Winterton. We had settled into 2 groups now. A crack firefighting team on the look out for a fire to extinguish and …the other group.

I was in the other group with Chris and Pauline and later Tony, and John came back to keep us company.

With the brisk start Pauline, who was attempting her first ever 100 mile ride, was feeling a little negative.

” I’m feeling a little negative at the moment” . Told you.

” I think I may have bitten off more than I can chew ” .

I followed the usual protocols on these occasions. Namely to keep encouraging and once we got to Selby she would have to cycle 100 miles otherwise she wouldn’t get home !

The two groups came together again at Thealby and after a short break we pressed on through Normanby, Flixborough and Gunness until we came to the point where the 105 and 125 mile routes were to split.

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125 MILERS RETURNING TO NORTH FERRIBY

At Keadby Bridge we had a little stop before going our separate ways. There was an attempt made  to get us to come on the 125 mile route, but it was better that we could go a little slower now and they could let rip.

As they left to go down the east bank of The Trent I could hear them chanting

” I feel the need ! The need for speed !! ”

MOUNTAIN BIKERS HIT PROBLEMS

But of course our ride was not not the only ride going on that day.

There was action going on across 4 counties.

After being dropped off in Selby the 33 mile mountain bike ride back to North Ferriby got underway. This included a small contingent from The Sunday Girls Road Club.

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MOUNTAIN BIKE RIDE ABOUT TO SET OFF FROM SELBY

I can definitely vouch for the fact that the Sunday Girls were on the right road leaving Selby as we saw them and waved as we made our way into town.

Quite where they went after that is anyone’s guess.

Reports had them heading to York at one stage and it was no surprise that  a 33 mile mountain bike ride turned into a 50 mile mountain bike ride. Nevertheless well done ladies, fantastic effort.

That wasn’t the end of the troubles for the mountain bike fraternity.

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” I JUST FELL ON IT “

Mark suffered a terrible accident when he sat down so hard on his seat, the entire saddle and seat post down to the top tube entered his bum and disappeared up where the sun don’t shine. That’s gotta make your eyes water.

On attending A&E with a saddle up his bum and the seat post sticking out  he was asked by the consultant how did it happen.

” I just fell on it doctor” he said which understandably was followed by knowing looks around the emergency room.

…….OK… OK !….that didn’t happen, his seat post just snapped off .

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OK OK HIS SEAT POST JUST SNAPPED OFF

I would like to think this is Karma for making me get out of bed at 4.45 am.

OTHER ROAD BIKE RIDES

On the 73 mile road bike route there were numerous groups and riders scattered along it having a great time.

There was a CRC , Sunday Girls and Lots Of Other People group

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CRC , SGRC & LOTS OF OTHER PEOPLE GROUP

Featuring in this group was Mark who achieved 2 notable records.

Firstly he now holds the record for number of gadgets taken on a ride. There were  cameras, radar warning devices, cycle computers, headphones and I’m told even oxygen measuring devices. Wow.

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MARK – HE’S A RECORD HOLDER

Secondly he also holds the record for number of gadgets that were broken or malfunctioned on a ride! The king of beta testing.

Also special mention to Tom in this group whose only cycling experience before doing a 91 mile bike ride was a commute of only a few miles.

Another brilliant effort. That’s the kind of attitude that will get you a long way in this sport……. literally……or possibly a stroke so just be careful.

I am told there was a ding dong battle between this group and the Revolution Cycle Club group throughout the ride with one group constantly fighting to get past another.

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RIDERS FROM THE REVOLUTION

Apparently the deciding factor in this epic battle was not fitness, stamina and strength but the menu at The Cheese Shop cafe stop in Howden. Marginal gains.

And of course there was the Humber Tri group who we passed on our way out of Selby being led by Lee. They actually seemed to be having a party as they rode along. It’s time to buy the matching shorts though Lee !

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HUMBER TRI – TIME TO BUY THE MATCHING SHORTS LEE !
MEANWHILE BACK ON MY RIDE

Once we had split from the 125ers myself, Pauline, Colin and John carried on the 105 mile route hugging the Trent and the Ouse on our way to Goole.

There was a strong gusting wind that day and we had been dodging the worst of it for most of the ride.

Unfortunately our luck ran out on the westward leg of this journey and we battled into a strong head wind all the way into Goole.

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105ers PAULINE, COLIN & JOHN ARRIVE IN SELBY

Or to be totally accurate Colin and John battled into a strong head wind all the way into Goole …..and I got in behind.

It wasn’t all plain sailing for me. Colin hadn’t stowed his rain jacket properly in his rear jersey pocket and I had to watch a red sleeve flapping about in front of me for mile after mile!

That really is quite annoying Colin, please sort that out for next time.

Head winds were a constant theme then all the way to Selby particularly on the A163 after Bubwith when finally I got fed up of watching Colin’s sleeve flapping about and did a little bit on the front myself.

After a cafe stop in Selby we headed back down the A163 on the return leg to North Ferriby where we passed a number of other groups going the other way towards Selby.

The strong winds were behind us now turning us into cycling gods.

25mph with no effort at all…we are gods !

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QUICK STOP FOR TEA AND BISCUITS IN BLACKTOFT

In fact the wind was generally helping nearly all the way back as we made excellent progress back to Howden and then following the Ouse to Laxton, Yokefleet and Blacktoft where we stopped for tea and biscuits. Very agreeable.

After Blacktoft we discovered a little glitch with the route on our Garmins . They were wanting to send us down tracks obviously  for mountain bikes not road bikes.

I mean I ask you who would send road bikes down a mountain bike track ?!

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So we had to ad-lib the last few miles.

Pretty soon after that Pauline was busting through the 100 mile barrier and we were closing in on the finish.

As we approached North Ferriby John started doing sprints and went off to do an extra climb of Woodgates. I am not making that up, that actually happened.

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105ers AT THE FINISH. JOHN IS NOT HERE AS HE IS DOING AN EXTRA CLIMB OF WOODGATES LANE – I KID YOU NOT

The rest of us went directly to the pub !

THE END OF AN UNFORGETTABLE DAY

What a great ride, great event and a brilliant way to finish it off with a pint and some grub in a local hostelry. Maybe we should have just gone straight to the hostelry part?  Just a suggestion.

What an achievement. So many rides, so much participation from local clubs and riders so much raised for a deserving local charity.

Well done to everyone who participated, donated and helped in the organisation.

But special thanks must go to one person who really put the effort in to make the day enjoyable and a great success.

I ask you who deserves the most credit for making it such a successful day …..

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……Pauline !  First 100 mile bike ride plus she bought me a pint of lager !

What ?…. Mark ? No way I got out of bed at 4.45 am because of that guy !!


The Humber Hop is raising money for EMMAUS a homelessness charity,

If you would like to make a donation please click on the link below

HUMBER HOP DONATIONS