Treachery, The Roman Empire And A Foggy Club Ride

FOGGY CLUB RIDE – 07/01/17

What better way to kick start the new year and make headway into your New Year resolutions ( let me guess … lose weight and improve fitness? …me too ! )  than to go for a bike ride.

Club rides had been suspended during the festive fortnight so we could all pile as much weight on as possible prior to our determination to start losing it.

I for one was racked with guilt at eating the best part of 2 Christmas cakes.

On reflection, however,  I had decided I was a victim.  It was, in fact, all Annette’s fault.

After all if she didn’t make the Christmas cakes I wouldn’t eat them. She practically forced those Christmas cakes down my neck !  That’s abuse.

In recognition of the fact that this was the first ride after a period of excess and over indulgence Chris had arranged a relatively short 37 mile ride from the Humber Bridge to Brigg and back.

We couldn’t avoid all unpleasantness though and on the return leg we would sample a few of the short and very sharp hills around the villages of Worlaby, Saxby and Horkstow.

Welcome to  2017 !

  

THE ROUTE


Coming over to the south side of the bridge we would leave the People’s Republic of Yorkshire and enter the United Kingdom at the North Lincolnshire market town of Barton-Upon-Humber.

Then it would be over to South Ferriby, past the cement works and head for Winterton on the A1077 before taking the B1207 for Appleby.

This long straight section of road that stretches all the way to Broughton instantly gives it’s Roman heritage away.

APPLEBY IS THAT WAY  !!

5 minutes on Wikapedia will tell you that Ermine Street, to give it it’s proper name, was a Roman road that stretched from London to Lincoln and on to York.

A quick look at the map will show how this road to Appleby lines up perfectly with the more well known Roman superhighway, the A15 to Lincoln.

But, apart from aquaducts, sanitation, irrigation, medicine, education, public health and the B1207 to Appleby what have the Romans ever done for us ? Exactly…..nothing !

We would turn off the Roman road just before Broughton to go down to Wressle and then onto Brigg.

The return would then be via Wrawby and Elsham before hitting the hills around Worlaby, Saxby and Horkstow. It would then be just a few miles back to Barton, the bridge and passport control back into Yorkshire.

TREACHERY & INFAMY


As Annette and I stepped out of the door to ride over to the north side of the bridge the main feature of this ride was immediately apparent…the fog.

My goodness it was a real pea souper. Only the towers of the Humber Bridge were peeking out above the blanket of damp miserableness that was laid out below.

THE TRIP OVER TO THE START. THE TOWERS STICKING UP THROUGH THE FOG

Annette was not long over a serious bout of cold and flu and this was her first decent ride in many weeks. She was a bit worried she would struggle and get left behind.

” I am a bit worried I will struggle and get left behind.” Told you.

“Don’t you worry love” I comforted her ” I will stick with you in the steady group today. Not a problem ”

” Even though that will ruin your ride ? Oh thank you Alan you are wonderful ! ” she cooed.

I basked in my wonderfulness.

On arrival at the start point we had about 20 riders which was a good turn out bearing in mind the conditions. There was the usual pre-ride excited chatter and 5 minutes after the ride was supposed to have left we started to form up into 2 groups.

” YOU WON’T LEAVE ME WILL YOU ? “………” NO LOVE TRUST ME “

I can only assume it wasn’t just me that was eating a lot of Christmas cake over the festive period as the steady group was heavily over subscribed.  The steady group pushed off first as the faster group was still waiting for one of their number to arrive.

As I watched Annette ride off with the steady group someone asked…

” I thought you were going with Annette today Alan ? ” to which I replied treacherously

” Oh…..she’ll be alright……I’ll go with you guys !! ”

OVER TO SOUTH FERRIBY & THE CEMENT WORKS

Once Gary had arrived (as it was he that twas late) the rest of us saddled up and we hit the road. We were a small group consisting of Tony, Gary, June, John and myself. 

Going over the bridge the higher elevation allowed us to catch a bit of sunshine streaming through the  mist and it was really rather beautiful.

GOING OVER THE BRIDGE THE HIGH POINT IS ABOVE THE FOG …..IT’S REALLY RATHER BEAUTIFUL

Once we got to the other end of the bridge however, down in the fog, it was really rather grim.

Dank, moist, cloying, dim, murky, depressing. Welcome to Barton.

THIS IS RATHER GRIM …..NOT YOU JOHN, THE WEATHER

This was the kind of weather where you got wet through by stealth.

Before you knew it your clothing weighed several kilos more than when you put it on that morning. How did that happen ?

In a similar vein stealth blindness was a bit of a problem. Pedalling along it would dawn on you…er actually I can’t see anything !  A simple wipe across your glasses with a finger to remove the water would bring about an immediate and incredible improvement in vision. I can see !

Anyway, enough of this negativity ! Let’s get stuck in. A New Year a new you !

Coming off the bridge on the south side it was up the long drag of Gravel Pit Road to meet the A1077 over to South Ferriby.

FIRST GROUP GETTING TO THE TOP OF GRAVEL PIT ROAD – GARY AND DEAN
SHAUN COMING TO THE TOP OF GRAVEL PIT ROAD

Here we caught up with the first group and started to pick our way through over the next couple of miles.

WELL DONE ANNETTE. GREAT LANTERNING RICH ( YES THAT IS A VERB )

I checked on Annette who didn’t seem to be holding my previous treachery against me and she was being looked after ably by Rich acting as Lantern Rouge. Someone should give that guy an award.

This was a busy section of road and with the poor visibility conditions were far from ideal.

GEOFF IN FRONT, BILL BEHIND

However we had plenty of flashing rear lights on show, kept in single file (mostly) and the traffic that morning was alert and not impatient to get past.

Trying not to be all Hollywood and ” move over slow group fast group coming through ! ”  I tried to be sociable on the way through

” Hello Mark, Hello Bill, Hello Geoff, Hello Kev, Hello Tracey….” you get the idea.

KEVIN AND JOHN THROUGH SOUTH FERRIBY

As I picked my way through I could see that Mark was having trouble with stealth blindness. He had perched his glasses right on the end of his nose and was peering over the top of them to get a view of the road.

Kinda reminded me of a nutty professor out for a bike ride. Hey, I’m just saying what came into my head.

MARK BATTLING STEALTH BLINDNESS – ” MARTY THE FLUX CAPACITOR REQUIRES 1.21 GIGAWATTS OF POWER !! “

Once we had gone past the cement works and reached the turning for the ancient Roman road of Ermine Street up to Appleby we were back as a group of 5 ready to press on.

ERMINE STREET & STRAVA SEGMENTS

I think it is well documented that I am not a hill lover.  However, I do like a gradual incline because I can use my colossal size and weight to maintain momentum.  When the incline reaches a certain severity however my ginormous mass becomes a problem and I start to struggle.

Quite where that cut off point is I couldn’t say but Ermine Street up to the turn off before Broughton was definitely in the “momentum” category and the hills over at Worlaby, Saxby and Horkstow were definitely in the “problem” category.

SECOND GROUP JUST STARTING OUT ON THE ROMAN ROAD SECTION

The long straight section of Roman road we had just entered contained 2 Strava segments. One of 3 and a half miles up to Appleby and the other of just under 6 miles up to where we would turn off the road before Broughton. 

BILL AND KEVIN JUST STARTING OUT ON ROMAN ROAD SECTION

I was definitely gunning for Strava personal records ( PRs ) up these segments particularly with the personnel in the group on today’s ride.

So as soon as we started the segment I went to the front and set a good pace. That’s a good pace for me, let’s be honest these things are all relative.

I was trying to instigate one of those crazy 15 minute periods where everyone is blitzing it constantly changing over at the front, giving it everything and thinking “what the hell is going on here ? “.

Did it work ? No because when we got to Appleby I was still in front, starting to flag and Tony meandered up to me and casually asked me what I got for Christmas !  So I don’t think Tony was in the zone at all.

WE ARE AROUND APPLEBY HERE. TONY IS NEXT TO ME ASKING WHAT I GOT FOR CHRISTMAS !

John however got the memo and came through and took it up to the turn off before Broughton and I am glad to report that I mullered my PRs on these segments and for the 6 miler have reached the heady heights of 92nd on the all time list….Hail Caesar !! ….hang on a minute I think I have a nose bleed.

FINISHING OFF THE SEGMENT. I DON’T THINK I WAS SPOTTED AT THE FRONT AGAIN !

INTO BRIGG AND THEN OFF ROUTE

Once we’d turned off Ermine Street we had a little stop so Gary could adjust his saddle ( and I could have a breather ) before carrying on for the pleasant run down through Wressle and into Brigg.

REMEMBER GARY IT’S RIGHTY TIGHTY LEFTY LOOSEY

Now there was no coffee stop planned on the ride for that day as it was only a 37 mile ride after all.

But subversive elements in the group ( i.e. all of us ) fancied a coffee somewhere so we decided to go off route and head for Howsham for a sneaky hot beverage.

I just hoped the other group didn’t find out that we went off route for an unauthorised coffee on only a 37 mile ride. After the bus shelter episode my reputation was already in tatters !

COULD IT BE THAT THE FOG IS ACTUALLY STARTING TO LIFT ?!

So we took a rather delightful detour along the river Ancholme up to Cadney and then across to Howsham. There were signs now of the fog actually starting to clear and the sun was peeping through.

We piled into Clayton’s Corner coffee shop just in time as it turned out as there were a number of cycling groups coming and going. We managed to bag a table and we enjoyed the first coffee so much that we decided to have another one.

Even though I would be letting the cat out of the bag that we were having a sneaky coffee I decided to text Annette to let her know that everything was OK and there would be no need to dig the will out.

THE FIRST GROUP HAVING COFFEE AND PERUSING FISHING TACKLE AND SUPPLIES

Then I got a text straight back informing me that the first group had also taken a detour to the Hunters Lodge Fishery at Elsham for a sneaky coffee themselves !!! 

An interesting establishment and the go to place if you are out on your bike, you fancy a coffee and you need a nash coated braid stripper.

Just in case you are in any doubt I have no idea what a nash coated braid stripper is.

I SUPPOSE WE BETTER DO THESE HILLS THEN

Reluctantly after the 2nd coffee it was time for us to leave Clayton’s Corner, put our excessively heavy and sodden cycling gear back on and make a B line for the hills at Worlaby, Saxby and Horkstow.

LOOK AT THE ENTHUSIASM I AM ABSOLUTELY DESPERATE TO GET ON WITH IT !

So we left Howsham, scooted through Wrawby and past Elsham and before you knew it we were approaching the first hill at Worlaby.

These hills are very well known to the club as they form part of the Wednesday night starter rides in the summer months.

OK they are not big challenging hills that you will find in the wolds or North York Moors but I tell you what if you did these hills regularly week in and week out or even day in and day out you will turn into a mountain goat of a cyclist.

I do not do these hills day in and day out and therefore I am not a mountain goat of a cyclist.

Each of them are about half a mile long with Worlaby the most “doable” with an average gradient of 7 % 

WORLABY – JUNE WITH TONY AND GARY BEHIND. YOU CANNOT SEE ME BUT I AM CHUGGING

I chugged along on this first one and eventually the pain stopped and I found myself at the top of Worlaby hill. There’s not a lot else to tell you.

Then it was down Bonby Hill so that we could get ourselves in position to go up Danns Hill in Saxby.

Another half miler but this time with an average gradient of 10 % most of it loaded into the first 100 meters where the gradient maxes out at 20 % just before a sharp right hand bend.

Excellent, I couldn’t wait.

On the 100 metre killer section I was discovering the true meaning of the phrase “chewing the handlebars “.

STEEP BIT OF DANNS HILL. GARY SEEMS TO BE FLOATING UP.

Stubbornly I refused to stand on the pedals ( a law of diminishing returns for me ) remaining  seated all the way. It was almost comical how close my head kept coming to the handlebars as I rocked and rolled and inched my way up that first 100 metres.

After the right hand bend came the “relief” of the gradient coming down to a mere 10 % before it finally backs right off as you approach the top. I watched my mountain goat colleagues move ahead, unable to follow.

JOHN ON DANNS HILL ABOUT TO MOVE EFFORTLESSLY PAST ME.

I don’t beat myself about being unable to follow anymore. If I get to the top without need of a defibrillator then for me that is a win.

We manoeuvred ourselves over to the last hill by popping down Saxby Hill and then across into Horkstow where we found ourselves at the bottom of the hill with the same name.

This one has an average of 10 % also but is more of a consistent gradient all the way rather than a very steep bit followed by a less steep bit.

Mentally this hill has got one over on me. Maybe it’s because when you come to go up this one you have been up the others and you are mentally and physically weakened. 

If I played rock/paper/scissors with this hill I would lose every time. I don’t know what it is , it totally psyches me out. I just don’t like this hill.

HORKSTOW HILL – PRETTY MUCH UNBEATABLE AT ROCK/PAPER/SCISSORS !

With such a shockingly bad mental attitude you won’t be surprised that I toiled up this one in what could best be described as a workmanlike manner. 

And that more or less was the end of the ride as we just had 3 miles or so, mostly downhill, to get back to Barton and then the bridge.

Thanks everyone and see you next week ! 

THIS TIME IT’S GONNA BE DIFFERENT

So that was the first ride of the year done and I had made an excellent start to my New Year resolutions for weight loss and fitness improvement.

How did you do ?

Maybe this year for me would be different from the disappointment of previous years where my good intentions have fallen by the wayside.

This time I feel it’s gonna be different !

I even cleaned my bike,  although to be honest when I got home and saw Annette cleaning hers she kind of shamed me into it.

ANNETTE CLEANING HER BIKE – WOULD SHE DO MINE IF I ASKED HER ? ….BETTER NOT

Never the less I was feeling very pleased with myself and you know what ?………maybe I deserved a little treat….

” Annette ?!……….is there any Christmas cake left ? ”

Just one piece isn’t gonna hurt is it ?