Saturday 18th September 2021
We woke to glorious sunshine ☀️ on Saturday morning, which augured well for our day in the “mountains”⛰️. Some of our number were exhibiting signs of overindulgence the previous evening. However we were all fortified by the wonderful breakfast 🍳 arrayed on the table before us. (Thank you early risers)
The “main” peloton were joined by a long term friend Steve Smith, who lives in the area, while the “splinter” group consisting of Alison & Sarah set off to follow a similar route to Friday’s ride with the intention to meet up later with the peloton for lunch at the Lion.
Both groups set off together but when the peloton set their sights to tackle Clay Bank once more, the splinter group continued westwards. As we hit the bottom of the climb, it was a case of “start the way you mean to go on”. Find a rhythm and keep spinning away.
Once again the effort was worth it as then went on a long wide descent for around 1.6 miles to reach the valley bottom then continued generally downhill for around 7 miles. The downside to all that free wheeling comes when it’s time to head upwards again. This time it was in the shape of Newgate Bank stretching over 1 mile at average of almost 7% with occasional ramps up to 10-12%.
On reaching the top of the climb, discussion turned to a possible detour with a drop down to Rievaulx Abbey before returning to the same road. “It’s a quieter road than this one” suggested Steve before adding “and its a very pretty route”. What he forgot to mention was the scary 10-15% descent to get to the valley floor followed by a similar climb back up again. Those that were persuaded, took to the front of the peloton and as they turned off the rest of us continued on happily, except for Colin, who realised he was in the wrong group and had wanted to go with the “lead” group but was now too far behind.
Arriving into Helmsley we found a lovely little cafe Ryeburn of Helmsley with a sun trap garden seating area. The choice of ice creams on display looked wonderful and many of us were tempted.
On leaving Helmsley we headed over towards Kirkby Moorside via Harome, Wombleton (no sign of any Wombles) and Welburn. That was the start of another long climb passing through Hutton-le-Hole up to our lunch stop at the Lion Inn on Blakey Ridge,. Nothing too steep with a couple of ramps touching 7% but also a number of sections where the gradient eases off and you can recover a little. For most of the time Mark and Chris were neck and neck out on the front. Who was going to get there first? Slowly but surely, Colin clawed his way through the Peloton to catch the front runners then continued past them, leaving them trailing breathless in his wake, eventually grabbing the “Lion’s Mane” ahead of them.
While at the Lion Inn, we were joined by Mike, Jackie, Sarah and Alison. Mike had his bike and joined in for the remainder of the ride. If he thought he was in for a nice easy introduction, he was out of luck as there were still some tough climbs to come.
Shortly after leaving the pub, Pugwash feeling the first hints of leg cramp, decided to call for the “broom wagon” and abandon. Meanwhile Dave suffered a puncture within sight of the pub. By the time the message had been passed through the peloton they were all well spread out.
Once on the way again the peloton were faced with tricky descent down to Westerdale followed immediately by another climb on Hunter’s Sty with a gradient of around 8-12% with sections touching 17%. Mark and Chris once again battling for KOM with Mark just pipping Chris for the “points”. There was a role reversal however on the next “lump” from Hob Hole Beck which included gradients reaching 21% and a cattle grid. After those two steep sections, the rest must have felt relatively easy as they hit the homewards straight through Kildale and Ingleby Greenhow.
On return, the birthday boy was treated to his favourite chocolate birthday cake and a round of “Happy Birthday” from the assembled choir. 🤔 Saturday night was designated “curry” night. While the curries were stewing away in the slow cookers, we all enjoyed a few aperitifs in late afternoon sunshine.
As the sun began to disappear, it was time to head indoors for dinner. A lovely selection of various types of curries were available to enjoy. When the dessert course was completed it was time for the games to begin again. This time a card game called “Dick” was proposed and played by the top half of the table. This was followed by the “Tongue” game. Don’t ask! It did create a great deal of hilarity though.
Somewhat later we had another round of Bingo Bongo. Despite the practice from the previous day none of us seemed to fare any better, although it was noted that some were referring to Internet to help. On this occasion the line was won by Alison and the full house by Jenny.