Hill Lovers, Spartacus And A Kid On a Scooter

CRC RIDE  – THE LOCAL HILLS …..ALL OF THEM – 20/03/16

I am beginning to think that within Cottingham Road Club (CRC) we have a secret society, a Fifth Column or maybe it is even a religious cult.

The members of this cult have unhealthy appetites and try to corrupt others to partake in their perverted pastimes.

You can spot them if you know what to look for.

They have crazy, wild looking eyes, greet each other with a funny handshake, draw each other close and whisper their evil motto ……..

” I Love Hills !! ”

Yes I am of course talking about the unholy abomination that are……. The Hill Lovers. Dah ! Dah ! Dah !

 

THE COURSE

Chris, who put together the course for the club ride on the 20th of March, is definitely a Hill Lover.

It was a relatively short 41 miles that would not stray very far from Cottingham. But in that distance it would seek out like an Exocet every significant hill in the area.

Thanks Chris.

Riding over to the meet point in Cottingham I was not feeling good. This is my default position and is generally met with disbelieving comments by my colleagues on arrival

“We don’t believe you ! “. There I told you so.

But on this occasion it was genuinely true….honest.

Cycling over the Humber Bridge I only just managed to get past a kid on his scooter and then the little bugger nearly came back at me. I was only just able to shake him off.

He deserved some encouragement though and a hearty well done for his efforts.

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KID ON A SCOOTER – MY NEMESIS

” Loser !! ” I shouted back at him. Someone else could give him the encouragement and the hearty well done.

That should give you an idea of how poor I felt that morning and what a grumpy mood I was in.

So it was definitely going to be the steady group for me. I saw the faster lads ( and girl ) lining up. Tony, Ian, Gary, Mat, Colin, Mark G, Samantha. I was going to get slaughtered if I went with them today. My confidence was definitely low.

GETTING READY FOR THE OFF
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WAYNE – WHATEVER YOU DO DON’T ASK WHERE ANNETTE IS

I must apologise for any grumpiness I displayed on the start line. I blame it on the kid who nearly smoked me on his scooter.

During the pre-ride chit chat I was getting lots of questions as to the whereabouts of my good lady wife :

” Where is Annette this morning ? ” asked Tracey

” She’s doing the Battle From Bishop Burton sportive today Tracey” I replied.

Then Mark W chipped in, “Annette not coming today ? ”

“She’s doing the Battle From Bishop Burton sportive today Mark ”

Then Geoff ” Is Annette cycling today ?”

“She’s doing the Battle From Bishop Burton sportive today Geoff”

And then Wayne

“Where is An…. ”

“Look she’s doing the Battle To Bishop Burton sportive OK !? But I’m here you know !! ”

“Whooo, alright, alright ….bit touchy aren’t we this morning !! ”

THE RIDE

So at 9 am ( ish ) we pushed off and went in search of a few hills.

Joining me on this hill safari would be Mark W ( leading ), Mick, Gavin, Wayne, Tracey, Steve, Geoff, Craig, Alan L and Sandra.

In the first few miles I was cycling with Tracey. ( Hill Lover )

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TRACEY LOOKING GOOD – NO SNOT ANYWHERE

Tracey was worried about being caught on camera in any unladylike poses such as expelling blockages from the nasal passages.  Wayne brilliantly calls this ” firing snot rockets “. She needn’t have worried as she is looking good in all pictures and believe me I looked for any bad ones

Alan L and Sandra were taking on a big challenge. They are fairly new to the club and were about to give it a go on one of the toughest rides we do.

I got talking to Alan who is preparing for a London To Paris charity ride

” I find it hard going up the hills at the moment ” he said ” but you know……I Love Hills !! ”

Oh no….he’s one of them !!

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ALAN…….HE’S ONE OF THEM !
THE FIRST FEW HILLS

We made our way to Swanland and then down into North Ferriby before going up the first featured climb of the day, which was Woodgates Lane.

This is a 1 mile climb that is made up of an initial 0.6 mile section of 7 % that takes you over the A63. At the National Speed Limit sign posts the gradient starts to slacken all the way to the top T junction.

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SANDRA ON WOODGATES

I went up with Sandra on this one to offer encouragement which as she is not my wife she had to accept gracefully.

Thems the rules.

I thought I would try and take her mind of it with a little conversation.

“Your Alan was telling me he loves the hills ” I began

” Oh yes we both do…..we are thinking of moving over this way as it’s too flat where we live. ”

What ?! Oh no Sandra …not you too ! This ride was turning out to be like  something from The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers.

After Woodgates we were heading over to the 2nd featured climb of the day which was Elloughton Dale. I say “featured” climb as it is a hill that qualifies for a mention on the title of Chris’s course.

To get to Elloughton Dale we dropped down into Melton and then over to Welton and out of Welton via Kidd Lane. Why Kidd Lane doesn’t feature as a “hill” I do not know because it is steep, goes on for a long time and it hurts.

However, I have moaned about this before and not wanting to sound like a stuck record I will move on……..but it is a proper hill though ! OK I’ll move on…..IT’S A PROPER HILL !

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AT THE BOTTOM OF ELLOUGHTON

Soon we came to the foot of Elloughton Dale. The Strava segment for Elloughton is about a mile and a quarter with an average gradient of 5 %. This is more of a consistent steady climb all the way rather than a steep bit followed by less steep bit or vice versa.

One of the features of this climb is that there is a long straight section of road where if you look up there doesn’t seem to be an end to it. This can add mental torture to physical torture if your head is not in the right place. For future reference my head is never in the right place on a hill.

One of our fanatical Hill Lovers was really buzzing when he got to the top of this one. Geoff has recently had a major operation when he had his rucksack surgically removed. He has bounced back even stronger though.

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” I AM SPARTACUS ! “

“That was brilliant I really enjoyed it ! ” he declared as he stuffed some flapjack in his mouth.  Then overcome with the emotion of getting to the top he adopted a noble roman pose and bellowed

“I am Spartacus !!”

With all this manliness stuff going on Craig could not help but join in and shouted back

“No !  I am Spartacus !! ”

For the love of God, what is going on here ?!

IT’S GETTING SILLY NOW

The first two hills however were just the hors d’oeuvre.

After Elloughton Dale we made our way back round to Kidd Lane ( it’s a hill ! ) through Elloughton itself, right at the Half Moon, up past Hull Ionians Rugby Club (one day I’ll watch a game there ! ) and into Brantingham.

Our next port of call was not going to be Brantingham Dale. First we had to do something to make going up Brantingham Dale much harder. All you Hill Lovers out there know what is coming.

Yes we had to go up Spout Hill first. Spout Hill is half a mile long and according to Strava has an average gradient of 11 %. It is a very hard hill. It runs from Brantingham village to precisely nowhere. At the top there is access to a property and a track that is not negotiable by road bike.

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WAYNE SUFFERING ON SPOUT HILL

So once at the top, you just turn around and come straight back down again.

This is the type of thing that only Hill Lovers think is a good idea

A few of our number didn’t fancy The Spout ( who could blame them ) and they set off directly up Brantingham Dale where we would meet them at the top.

Reluctantly I set off up The Spout with Tracey ( Hill Lover ) Steve ( Not 100 % sure ) Geoff ( definite Hill Lover ) Gavin ( Don’t know ) and Wayne ( I don’t think so, if he is a Hill Lover he hides it well )

To make things a little more interesting on the hill there was quite a few walkers and horse riders ( actually on horses not just horse riders by themselves).

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DON’T TAKE ANY CHEEK FROM THEM HORSES GAV !!

When you are doing about 4 mph and killing yourself to achieve that, it is quite difficult to accelerate past a horse. Take it from me. I think the horse glanced sideways at me as if to say:

“Is that all you’ve got ?! ”

Enraged by this imaginary slur I hit back.

“Why the long face ? I’ll tell you why horse…..because you are a loser !! ”

This is what going up hills does to me. I pick imaginary fights with horses.

Still we all got through in one piece and had a well deserved rest at the top.

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WE ARE MAMILS AND PROUD

I love this picture of Wayne and Gavin at the top of Spout Hill. Two MAMILs squeezed into their kit. I am just the same.

Looks like we all suffer from those washing machine malfunctions where the cycling kit is washed on the wrong temperature setting and get’s shrunk several sizes. Yes that’s definitely it, couldn’t be any other reason why the kit is on the tight side.

I believe these washing machine glitches are called Cold & Hot Uncontrolled Breakdown Incidents or C.H.U.B.I for short.

And so down The Spout we went and suitably weakened we started on the Brantingham Dale climb.

The legs were still in a state of shock from The Spout so taking it steady up Brantingham Dale was going to be the only option

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TRACEY LEADING UP BRANTINGHAM DALE

Tracey hadn’t got the memo though and led us up Brantingham a  little too enthusiastically. We have a call unique to CRC that when deployed means ” excuse me old chap ( or chapess ) would you mind awfully slowing down as I am finding the current pace a little taxing.”

The call was deployed …..” Oi !!! ”

Having backed off we then took it reasonably steady up the rest of the climb to rejoin our ride colleagues who had sensibly omitted The Spout.

MORE MADNESS

From the top of Brantingham Dale we went down the Beverley Clump descent towards South Cave.

At the bottom of this decent there is a nice straight road into South Cave itself that gently falls away allowing a tired rider time to coast, get his breath back and recharge the batteries.

We didn’t go that way, we turned left and went up a bloody steep hill instead.

The hill in question is actually called Steep Hill. Just before we started up we waited for an elderly couple that were out walking to come past us..

The sweet little old lady came up to us and said… ” Don’t do it !! ”

I hear you sister.

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GEOFF STARTING OFF AT THE BOTTOM OF STEEP HILL

About half our group heeded this very good advice and decided to wait at the bottom. This was because Steep Hill is another Hill Lover’s paradise. i.e. go up a very steep hill and then just turn around and come back down again. Bonkers.

Steep Hill is all about the first 100 yard stretch….which is brutal.

According to Strava it maxes out at 17 %. Once that is over there is a sharp right hand bend and a much more sociable and gradual incline to the top.

I was expecting to need ropes and a grappling hook to get up but that first killer section was over quite quickly and then it was a pleasant pedal for the remainder of the climb with some stunning views.

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STEVE AT THE TOP OF STEEP HILL

We regrouped back at the bottom of Steep Hill and then we had two options.

Turn left for a pleasant ride down into South Cave or turn right to take on yet another tough hill climb back up  Beverley Clump.

Any guesses which way we went ? Well it was never gonna be left was it ?!

LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL

When we got back up to the top of Beverley Clump we had now done 6 challenging climbs, 7 if you count Kidd Lane which you should. Why ? ……because IT’S A HILL !

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COMING UP THE CLUMP

There was only one big climb left to go.  There was definite light at the end of the tunnel. This madness was going to end soon.

At this point Gavin had to leave us. Something about children, parenthood and responsibilities.

This means that Gavin is definitely NOT a Hill Lover as a genuine Hill Lover would gladly abandon his offspring for the chance to do another hill.

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AT THE TOP OF THE CLUMP WITH WAYNE, MICK, GEOFF

We made our way over to the High Hunsley cross roads where we came across the other group who had just come up Trundlegate.

This was ….sharp intake of breath …..NOT the official route. They should have gone down Trundlegate then done a loop  through Hotham and gone back up Hunsley Road (the B1230) to the High Hunsley crossroads. They had gone round clockwise instead of anti clockwise.

As Ian rode past he gave us their paper thin excuses for deviating from the official route. Something about safety, traffic, reducing risk and taking care of everyone.

All very sound reasons. However, I must own up to being a bit anal here.

If the route has been pre-arranged and set up on Garmin beforehand and it has us going round a particular route in an anticlockwise direction then short of something like an earthquake or an asteroid hitting the earth I want to go round that circuit in an anticlockwise direction.

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THIS IS WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF YOU DO NOT FOLLOW THE COURSE

To not comply with the pre-arranged route would be a betrayal of my very britishness.

To go round that route in a clockwise direction would mean to me that I am living in a land where chaos and disorder are in charge, where people think that the rules of civilisation, of proper decorum, procedure and process are for others and they will do as they damn well please.

I have seen a land like this and it shocked me to my core, to my very soul. It was called France.

I don’t want to be French……although a 2 hour lunch break would be nice.

So you see it was quite important to me to go round that circuit in an anticlockwise direction. Perhaps a little too important.

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MARK AND SANDRA AT HIGH HUNSLEY

So we all agreed as a group that we were going to do the route as per Chris’s course so that meant a left turn up ahead to take us down Trundlegate.

All agreed ? All agreed, off we go !

Imagine my surprise then when the group barrelled past the left turn without even a second glance.

“Hey, we are supposed to turn left here ! Hey !! ”

There was no stopping them, they were gone and motoring down Burgate into North Newbald.

Now, I don’t want to get bogged down in who’s fault this was. We win as a team and we lose as a team….but Tracey was definitely to blame. 100 %.

When we got to the bottom the recriminations started

“That was your fault Tracey”

That was pretty much the end of the recriminations.

We were now off the course. We were through the looking glass and in that very land of chaos and disorder that I had feared.

Mon monde avait tourné à merde

THE LAST HILL ( APART FROM THE NEXT ONE )

After a little conflab in North Newbald we decided that we should just come back up Trundlegate to get ourselves back on the course.

I consoled myself that even though we were coming up the wrong hill ( Oh the shame ! ) it wasn’t exactly the easy option.

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MICK AND GEOFF AT THE BOTTOM OF TRUNDLEGATE

So that’s exactly what we did. I carried on the noble tradition within the club of lying to people unfamiliar with the course that we were on the last hill.

” Last hill Sandra ! Come on, no more after this one ”

When we got to the top I gave her the bad news

” You know I said that was the last hill Sandra ? Well that wasn’t strictly speaking 100 % accurate ”

After we had gone back down into Little Weighton and gone up Risby Hill on the other side we had definitely completed all the hill climbs for the day.

” That was definitely the last one Sandra ! ”

Both Sandra and Alan had done an amazing ride considering their newness to the club. I don’t think Alan wanted to stop as he took a wrong turn about 100 metres from the Olive Garden in Cottingham and went missing for 10 minutes.

I think he was looking for more hills.

SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY

So after a really enjoyable ride we all said our goodbyes in Cottingham and I made my way back over to Barton.

There was no sign of that pesky kid and his scooter going over the bridge. Just as well for him as I would have burned him off this time.

I got home just about the same time as Annette returning from the Battle From Bishop Burton sportive.

“Hello darling how was your sportive today did you enjoy it ? It was quite hilly wasn’t it ? ”

” Well ” she started off ” there was a tough hill at Warter and obviously Trundlegate was a challenge. But you know I just concentrated on my effort all the way up and got there eventually ”

” Good for you Love ” I replied. But she wasn’t finished.

“You know I get a real sense of achievement from getting up a steep hill ”

” Do you love ? ” I said starting to feel uneasy

” You know I even quite like the pain in the legs and shortness of breath whilst doing the hill. You know what they say No Pain No Gain  ”

No don’t say it darling , I beg you. My worst nightmare was unfolding in front of me.

“And you know what ? I would go so far as to say …. ” she continued moving in close and whispering in my ear…..

….. ” I love hills !! ”

” Nooooooooo !!! ”


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