Saturday night 10pm – still only two takers for the BK Sunday club ride. Has ‘hill hunter’ James put people off with his ‘60-70 mile’ route with circa 3,500 foot of ascent including ‘the fourth hardest climb in East Yorkshire’ (although technically I think West Heslerton is in North Yorkshire). Or was it the 9am start time? Whatever it is, only ‘hill hunter’ and ‘segment hunter’ Michael have signed up.
We meet at the usual MC rendezvous point and ‘the beer hunter’ Paul has turned up too. Although he had ‘a good few’ ales last night, including a pint and a half at Nellies who’s new business plan appears to be to charge double the pre-lockdown prices, thus losing their own USP overnight (it won’t work Sam Smith wherever you are), he was up and ready to start at this new early time – which used to be the normal time, but now appears to be the old normal not the new normal.
We set off on the usual route to Huggate, via Cherry, Etton, South Dalton, Middleton and North Dalton, so we have to do the Dalton to Huggate drag, which this author dislikes intensely. I mean, I don’t mind hills. But there has to be a point to them. Like Elloughton Dale I did in the peeing down rain yesterday – the scenery is so beautiful you don’t realise you’re slogging up a 10 percenter. Or if there’s a reward when you get to the top – a great café (whether the café in Huggate can be described as ‘great’ very much depends on your liking for buns….). But the three mile stretch has none of this – it’s just a steaming pile of meh. But what’s this? We’re turning right before we get into Huggate and we’re treated to the most gorgeous descent in to Wetwang. Segment hunter squeals in delight “James – this is beautiful. I’ve never been down it before, only up it.” No sooner have we got to the bottom and Strava beeps at segment hunter to inform him he’s talking bollocks as usual. York Road climb is upon us and segment hunter’s bike computer is flashing ‘go go go – your PB is x and you need to beat it. Segment hunter ignores it – “I will not be chasing segments today” he confidently claims. Hmmmm, think hill hunter and beer hunter.
We hit the category 4 climb ‘life hill’ and hill hunter can finally open his legs and show his class (© David Coleman). We soon see why James has recently recorded the best ever time by a Knight (Apart from Brett, obvs) on the challenging Brantingham Dale climb. Since he bought his new bike a few months ago his improvement has been immense. Chapeau! as our Mark would say. Talking of Mark, we saw him heading North in North Yorkshire somewhere while we were heading South. Was it the 9am Mark, or just the company? It certainly wasn’t the distance century man (or maybe it was – only not far enough!!
We reach what we’ve all been waiting for – Col de Spellowgate, according to Strava. Hill hunter sprints off like Lance Armstrong after a visit to the ‘doctor’. He’s closely followed by an impressive beer hunter, his Duncan ‘good few’ last night doing nothing to slow him down. Segment hunter has a cunning plan – stop and take a photo – thanks Ray for giving me that idea to save face when struggling.. And here is said photo….
If you look closely, you should be able to see beer hunter in the background. Hill hunter is some way further ahead – indeed the post-strava ‘white gate official Yorkshire climbs’ segment reveals an impressive time of 5 mins 25 secs for James, with beer hunter a minute or so behind and segment hunter still at the bottom taking photos………
We carry on South towards Driffield and segment hunter praises hill hunter again for such a beautiful route. “I’ve never been here before” he says assuredly. But then bike computer beeps again telling him it’s the ‘Croome Dale to Cowlam’ segment – you’ve got to beat your PB’. This time, segment hunter can’t help but live up to his name and shoots off with no warning to his comrades.
We arrive into Driffield not before a hair raising 43 MPH descent – was safe, honest, twenty’s plenty campaigners. Arriving at Bike Cave, the beer hunter is aghast that it seems to be takeaway only and suggests we go somewhere else so we can sit down. Apparently though, it IS takeaway only, but you can sit down in the premises to consume the takeaway. No, me neither. Whatever, we decide to stay and we get a much needed huge sandwich and liquid refreshments.
We agree to head back via Skerne and Hutton Cranswick and from there the main road back home. Beer hunter takes a strange detour through what seems to be an industrial estate. Alas, it’s a brewery – Paul wants to make sure it’s open post-lockdown so he can sample their real ale once again.
We get to Hutton Cranswick and an impromptu chain gang follows, with each of us taking a turn at the front (what do you mean you know what a bloody chain gang is) and arrive into Leconfield for hill hunter’s departure, then a slow meander back into Beverley. What a brilliant ride. Stunning views. Challenging climbs. And good company. Until next time………