Talk about “hot off the press”, within three minutes of Raymondo posting the route for today’s ride there was a quick ‘screeching of brakes’ after Russell advised that the Stoneknowle road appeared to be closed. “OK let’s sleep on it and decide in the morning”. If anyone thought they were going to escape ‘hills’ by heading east, they must have been sorely disappointed with the Tour Master’s alternative.
Fourteen Knights assembled at Manor House for a trip to Cranswick Farm Shop. After weeks of dubious weather, it felt strange heading out in bright warm sunshine and minimal lycra. Following our usual route through Cherry Burton and Etton we took the Kiplingcotes road to Goodmanham.
Somewhere along the way, one of our members left the shelter of the wheel in front to cross over the road. What was this? An attempt to form a breakaway? Glad no-one followed the move as his intentions soon became clear as indicated by a flick of elbow to the sky and Index finger extended to the side of the nose and Whoa! Thar She Blows! A projectile big enough to grow cultures in a petri dish flew sideways and off into the slipstream behind. And here’s me thinking that lateral flow was a test you did at home.
The ‘pacing’ at the front was ideal as we managed to remain together until Goodmanham when a tractor appeared and turned down Red Lane behind the front runners and followed by the rear guard. At the bottom, we were greeted enthusiastically by group of WOW (Women on Wheels) ladies, cheering and egging us along as if we were part of the Gruppetto shielding Mark Cavendish at the Tour de France. The fact that Mrs Pugwash was among them had nothing to do with it.
Our first big climb of the day came as we headed for Intake Hill up to Londesborough then continuing to Nunburnholme top. A climb of around 2. 8km at average 4.3% gradient, not quite Pyrenees but tough enough to test the legs. There was only going to one winner today as Steve G turned up with his electric bike. Despite the heat of the sun and the effort required to push to the top, he didn’t even appear to have broken sweat as he sailed past everyone. Mark and Stephen enjoyed the climb so much they promptly turned around at the top and cycled back down to “escort” the Gruppetto to the top.
There was a brief respite as we continued to Bailey Lane and down to Warter. Next up however for “KOM points” was the climb along Mill Lane to Huggate beginning with a short 5% gradient over 1km then a gentler upwardly rolling section of 3.8km. No prizes for guessing who was first to Huggate. Once we’d all regrouped it was time for a bit of downhill fun as we headed to Tibthorpe with a slightly following wind making quick progress to Cranswick Farm Shop.
The proximity of the cows in the adjoining field gave rise to various comical discussions regarding why they were there and what breed they were. More concerning was the rear ends turning to face us and the possibility of them “letting rip” in our direction. Safely rehydrated and fueled it was time to head home.