To help round off another fabulous summer the Beverley Knights went on tour- this time to Wensleydale. After arriving on Friday lunchtime Neil, Heather, Chris, Nick, Stephen and Sharrin had a short ride to the Wensleydale Creamery where attempts were made to eat as much cheese as possible. A short ride to Askrigg followed with the only time limit being to get back for the Tesco delivery. Down into Askrigg with a tail wind was great- seeing the Tesco van go the other way added some tension. Some off-roading and a ride back into the wind followed but the delivery was met and the driver did ask if we were staying a week as a result of the volume of food delivered. The rest of the team arrived over the course of the day; Kevin & Isabel after a long delay on the A1, Mike & Jackie after a minor Sat Nav issue, Matthew & Catherine, Roger & Linda. Stephen Oliver showed his map reading skills by going to the wrong house- only 1 1/2 hours from his destination. Simon & Charlie, Judith and then Andy meant the house was full. An à la carte menu followed with choices of steak, Barnsley chops (luckily big enough for Neil!) or salmon, rounded off with apple pie or chocolate cake. Proper pre cycle eating. A relatively early night followed apart from the pool sharks of Team Grey (Stephen P and Andy) who soundly thrashed the young guns (Charlie and Stephen O) …messy after homemade Cranberry gin or Bramble vodka.
Saturday morning started with a production line to prepare 4 curries and dice 4 kg of lamb. Porridge and croissants prepared the gang for the cycling…. Or so they thought!
It was overcast as the 17 intrepid cyclists set off little knowing that in less the 10 minutes they would be hit by the first hill heading North out of Askrigg to Muker it ticked off the first of the top 100 climbs doing Oxnop Scar backwards with some 20% gradients. With this shock to the system everyone realised what was ahead of them.
A coffee stop at the Dales cycle centre in Fremington allowed time to consider the day ahead. Next up was the road from Reeth to the Tan Hill Inn ticking off climb number 2, it was a 10mile climb with some 12% gradients. Everyone reached the highest pub in the UK for lunch and it was enjoyed in a toasty bar. Coming out after lunch was hard work especially for Nick who’s weather forecasting skills meant he hadn’t packed a jacket and it was cold! Luckily Linda leant him a jacket (Polaris of course) and we all enjoyed a glorious descent with fabulous views . But what goes down must go up…Buttertubs next with a 9% average and areas of 25%. The more challenging route from Thwaite to Hawes was followed taking us from Swaledale to Wensleydale. Photographs were taken at the summit and then with cheery hearts we set off on the descent for home but only to realise the last steep drag was still ahead! A final dash for home and the cottage was reached early afternoon. We all caught up with Judith and Catherine who had been walking and avoiding Bulls in fields.
Après cycling snacks regenerated us all for the table tennis competition which took place with some fabulous views. None of which distracted Mike “the snake ” Straw who was crowned champion for the second year running.
The curries went down well and the Knights settled down to watch England win at the rugby….except they didn’t and Wales were triumphant much to Sharrin’s delight.
Sunday started well with a Smithy cooked breakfast- just what the legs ordered. It was with anticipation and trepidation we all set off on another venture into the Dales and two more of the top 100 climbs to bag. We all headed south through Hawes and Gayle and then the first climb of Fleet Moss loomed intimidating ahead . A long steep ride with no hair pins to hide the inevitable, it took a few casualties. Another great descent followed, cycling past the river in glorious sunshine… It doesn’t get much better. Coffee and cake was consumed in Kettlewell and then onwards to the next climb of Park Rash. Some of the Knights were wishing they hasn’t read about the insanely steep climb the evening before but everyone tried their best, some triumphant, others to try another day. Heading back to the cottage for lunch proved a challenge and a pit stop in Askrigg for a liquid refreshment was required.
A beautifully sunny afternoon meant we all could sit outside and chat about the previous few days cycling. But all the time looming was the awarding of the Mr Grumpy award. All weekend there had been efforts to get a rise out of fellow Knights but to no avail. Perhaps it was the stunning countryside, the glorious weather but no one was grumpy !
The award was amended to the Mr Happy and the well deserved winner was Simon much to his (and his wife’s) amazement. The prize had been bought earlier in the day by Jackie and Catherine – a pair of ” hardly worn” boxers.
A few lucky Knights stayed over on the Sunday evening and enjoyed a meal of left overs, a few tipples and a lot of laughs .
All in all a most enjoyable weekend spent with wonderful people doing what we all love best… Cycling!
Thanks to Neil and all involved in the organisation x