CRC RIDE TO WORSENDALE, GIVENDALE & NUNBURNHOLME – 27/02/2016
The CRC ride on Saturday the 27th of February was going to be a hard one.
An expedition deep into the heart of the Yorkshire Wolds to tackle some serious hills.
Are there any other kinds ?
The stars of this hill fest would be Worsendale Road rising up from the village of Bishop Wilton followed by the nearby Givendale Lane and to finish would be the old favourite of Nunburnholme Hill.
A lumpy extravaganza of just under 60 miles for the return journey from Cottingham.
The morning was cold at 1 degree and the forecast was not anticipating anything higher than 5 degrees.
That was OK so long as it didn’t rain. If my hands got cold I would be unable to fix any puncture that occurred and thus be abandoned to forage for food in the woods….until I phoned the Missus to pick me up.
So imagine my disappointment as I set out for Cottingham in steady rain wearing 5 layers ( including my rain jacket ) and 2 pairs of gloves.
Think Michelin Man on a bike and you pretty much have it.
At the meet point there were at least 30 other nutters …I mean cycling enthusiasts. Luckily the rain had now stopped and would not return for the rest of the day.
We split into groups.
There would be a steady group led by Mark W that would do the route but minus the Worsendale climb and then 2 other mixed groups.
I set off in a group led by Ian and we rode up through Skidby and then headed for Little Weighton.
My group had an interesting mix. There were fit young guys, fit older guys and one fit pensioner. There was only one person in the “not as fit as he could be older guy” demographic. That was me.
Mark G was asking about the ride as he hadn’t done this one before. I gave him the benefit of my experience.
“The tough hills start after about 30 miles Mark. You absolutely must not tire yourself out before you get there. You have got to conserve your energy. ”
Wise words indeed.
Words that I then set about completely ignoring myself.
Looking back on it now there were a number of sections I expended too much energy.
The run through Little Weighton and all the way to High Hunsley. I went too fast there.
The Cliffe Road run into Market Weighton. I went too fast there.
On the other side of Market Weighton, the lower slopes of Londesborough hill. I went too fast there.
Burnby to Pocklington. I definitely went too fast there.
As we wended our way through Pocklington and homed in on Bishop Wilton and the fearsome Worsendale climb I was knackered.
I was hoping for a miracle in order to get up it. No, I was hoping for a miracle to survive it.
There you have it. My strategy for going up this hill was ……. to hope for a miracle.
It was never going to end well.
WORSENDALE & GIVENDALE
Worsendale Road is 1.2 miles long with an average gradient of 8 %. This is made up of 3 sections. The first is a steep section which then flattens off before it rises again to the top.
I started in front because I wanted to get pictures of the guys coming past me. This must have happened within the first 20 metres and then I never saw them again until the top !
As soon as I started to push down with the legs on the first section, I knew, there was nothing in them. The hoped for miracle was not going to materialise. It was a long shot after all.
I thought about writing the most graphic and disturbing passage here of a man torturing himself and enduring the most awful pain and suffering in order to get to the top. I will not inflict that on you but believe me it happened.
I was glad in the end that I didn’t stop. I was accompanied at the top by Justin who when he gets fit will fly up but who, on this occasion, was suffering just the same as me.
We forged a brotherhood of pain on that hill which is like being blood brothers but does not involve the swapping of bodily fluids.
At the top some of the guys wanted to descend Garrowby Hill to get back down into Bishop Wilton.
To do this you need courage, confidence and good bike handling skills. So obviously I didn’t do that choosing to go back down Worsendale.
At the bottom, on the way down as my brakes glowed white hot we passed one of the other CRC groups coming up. They were all happy and smiling. They couldn’t have known what was coming.
We regrouped in Bishop Wilton and made our way over to the bottom of the next climb which was Givendale Lane.
Having bombed on Worsendale you would have thought that there would be no way I could pull a performance out of the bag for Givendale.
Surely there would be no way back for me now?
No way to summon up some guts and determination and achieve a good time up the climb.
And …you would be right. There was no way.
It was just as much a horror story as Worsendale. Death by a thousand cuts with my pain brother Justin. Actually even Justin left me at the top. That hurt by the way bro.
On the positive side the coffee stop was now looming. The only obstacle in our path was having to run the gauntlet of a road strewn with thorns from a hedge trimming operaton. How we managed not to get a puncture I do not know.
Having suffered greatly on the hills and then missed all the thorns littering the road we arrived safely at the Madhyamaka Kadampa Meditation Centre at Kilnwick Percy.
Finally some Karma.
The Meditation Centre has a coffee shop known as The World Peace Cafe. I was ready to have a sit down and contemplate quietly the last couple of hours. Actually I was ready for a lie down never mind a sit down.
We ran into the steady group led by Mark W chilling on an outside table. Chilling was definitely the word as we ordered drinks and sat outside in weather conditions that were getting colder and colder.
Inside the coffee shop the temperature was warm and toasty but the consensus was that this might be detrimental to our well being.
I never did figure out why exactly it would be detrimental to our well being as my well being was getting a hell of a hammering from the cold.
I felt the need to pop inside on a number of occasions to check out the interesting leaflets on meditation and to find out the free WiFi password …..which was ” inner peace ” by the way.
Maybe I would find some inner peace in order to tackle the next big test of this ride at Nunburnholme?
Had the meditation techniques I had read about in the coffee shop helped me to marshal my inner resources for a decent assault on Nunburnholme Hill?
Was I going to put the other 2 dismal performances behind me and put in a stellar effort up the last hill?
Would I be able to look my ride colleagues in the eye after giving them a run for their money ?
Would I be able to hold my head up h….oh for goodness sake you know the answer is no !
Once again the rest of the guys moved away speedily up the hill while I demonstrated my chugging technique. Justin who had crossed himself in mock prayer just before the start of the hill was the only one eating my dust.
Not much dust is thrown up at 4 mph though.
Finally we both got to the top where the rest of the group were waiting for us. That was the last of the big hills but there was still 20 miles to go.
THE RUN IN
I was starting to struggle to keep up now generally not just on the hills.
Due to a lack of courage and determination going down Londesborough Hill I got gapped from the group and then couldn’t make it up.
Ian and Justin waited back for me. Thanks fellas …well it’s the least my pain brother could do !
We linked up with the rest of the group at Goodmanham where we got onto Spring Road which would take us back to Etton.
This is usually a fast section on club rides and I was determined (yes I had found some determination now ) to stay in the wheels and not get dropped.
Mark, who had heeded my advice and flown up the climbs, came to the front to pull us through.
” I didn’t feel so good at first ” said Mark ” but I feel brilliant now ! ”
Yep, thanks for letting us mortals know that Mark.
It didn’t take long after that. I reckon we could do this run in blindfolded (but I wouldn’t recommend it )
Cherry Burton, Walkington, Little Weighton, Skidby and then Cottingham.
END OF AN EPIC
Finally arriving home I was welcomed in by the current Mrs Clough who made me a very kind offer.
” Sit yourself down on the couch love and I’ll make you a cup of tea ”
“Oh thank you darling that would be wonderful ”
Sitting on the couch with Annette making tea through in the kitchen, it was time for a bit more meditation and contemplation.
It had been a very hard ride. Every joint and muscle below the waist was aching. Maybe I had bitten off a bit more than I could chew today. Still it was a great effort by all concerned.
Now for that meditation. Focus on the breathing. In …and out. In…and out. In….out.
” How was your ride ?! ” Annette shouted through…there was no reply.
” Did anybody ask where I was ?! “….still no reply.
” Alan ?!……….Alan ?!! ”
” Zzzzzzzzzzzz ! ”
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.