“An early challenge”
“It will encourage us to get out earlier in the year “
Just a few comments at the AGM when the date was set for this challenge .
A group of 10 Knights met at the Squash club to head off to Morecambe to start the ride .Kevin and Vicki were again on hand to provide transport for the bikes and Andy was driving the minibus with a stop at Catterick to collect Ruth- whilst there we fuelled ourselves up with some very tasty fish and chips. As we headed over the A66 the red sky in front of us made everyone hopeful of good weather .
Once booked into the hotel we headed to the “ Eric Bartholomew” which for all pub quizzers is the original name of the genius that was Eric Morecambe- few drinks and a look at the map were on the menu- though after a look at the topography an early night was preferable for some !
A few days before the weekend the lack of Spring weather and poor forecast caused a bit of a headache and worry for Neil but he held out and he was rewarded by a sunny morning as we all got ready bright and early and headed to Morecambe beach for the start-well all except Jim who took a few more minutes to get ready!
After photographs we headed along the cycle path and out of Morecambe , over the River Lune and towards Lancaster.
After about 25 miles , just before Clapham, we stopped for snacks and a lovely cup of tea- the minds of the riders was still on the forthcoming hills so once fuelled up we headed off .
The ride into Clapham took a diversion under the underpass – perhaps more suitable for walking with a steep damp descent in and a steep ascent out which caused a bit of a traffic jam and pile up with Jenny coming off worst. However once dusted down we set off through Clapham though sadly no catch up with Alan Bennett for Heather this time. heading through Austwick and Giggleswick with the wind in our faces then we soon arrived in Settle with the thought of High Hill Lane and an NE wind to look forward to.
It was agreed to meet at the top of the hill so some of the climbers in the group headed off with a smile on their faces whilst others had more of a grimace! Once the cobbles had given us a rattle then it was onwards and upwards.
Mark, James, Jim, Neil and Heather headed off in a bunch – soon weaving and effort was evident but the top was eventually reached- next came Jenny, Dave , Sharrin and Mike – with Stephen bringing up the rear after a loo stop. A valiant effort came from Jenny with support from Dave , Sharrin made it past corner and after a pause managed to get going again and Mike’s determination got him all the way- lastly Stephen who soon caught up with everyone at the last third of the hill. Good things come to those who wait and the view that everyone was met with was certainly worth waiting for.
After the challenge of Settle it was an enjoyable , lumpy , ride through Airton and Cracoe to reach Burnsall. Some of the group were held up in the last few km with the bus attempting to squeeze along the narrow stonewalled lanes – wing mirrors in!
Once into Burnsall the village green had been turned into a picnic spot with Kev and Vicky providing a lovely buffet lunch including hot drinks and hot soup. Everyone enjoyed a sit down and a refuel and admired the surroundings .
However that wasn’t going to get us to Boroughbridge and we bade farewell and planned to meet up again near Fountains Abbey. Some were less keen to leave with Jim having a shoe change into boots as the weather was cooling down- there was a technical issue though when he walked to his bike with relative ease and realised there were no cleats on the bottom ! So a repeat change and they set off to catch the others.
There was an immediate climb after lunch to reach Skyreholme which challenged the legs and then a long down hill into Pateley Brudge. What goes down then goes up and the general theme of the ride continued with a number of small climbs and descents as we made our way through Glasshouses and then up via Brimham rocks. On one of the descents the usual shout of “pothole” or “car up” was replaced by “Llamas ahead !” Not the usual shout but there aren’t many trekking Llama trips in Yorkshire . It made everyone smile and then occupied us for a while debating the alpaca vs llama question.
As we headed out of the Dales we had the pleasure of riding down through Fountains Abbey and Studley park and then our final coffee and snack stop. The wind had certainly added time to our ride so after postponing the evening meal we knew we had a flat dash to Boroughbridge but our luck with the rain continued and although large showers were rolling through we didn’t get wet at all.
Once at the hotel it was time for a shower and the a trip to the bar and we enjoyed a well deserved meal and few drinks whilst catching up on everyone’s highs and lows of the days. No evening would be complete without a random board game so a competitive game of “Lift Off” ensued with much hilarity. There was a celebration for Neil and Heather wedding anniversary as well.
The next morning a few stiff legs appeared for breakfast (and perhaps a few sore heads for those who stayed up late tasting the red wine )and once more food was consumed ( a theme to this trip) we headed back to the previous days finish point. A quick ride along to Aldborough and Newton-on Ouse just reminded everyone what is was like to cycle on a flat route again ! As we past the railway line we came across a cheering support group of Carrie , Ollie and Ted and Andy was waiting on his bike to come cycle with us. Heading along the River Ouse we made our way into York and it was lovely that the Way of the Roses took us past the impressive York Minster. We met us with the support van just outside Dunnington and a warm cup of coffee was welcome. We had been spared the rain but met more wind and cooler temperatures and cycled on through Stamford Bridge in a close group to head off some of the wind. It was soon recognisable ground we were on and once into Pocklington it strangely felt as though we were almost there- yet we still had over 40 miles to go. Millington Dale was next and after the previous days efforts legs were finding it interesting going out of Millington.
The top near Huggate was lunch stop for the day and Kev, Vicky and Andy looked after us all- the wind though was chilling and so a few settled in the minibus to eat and shelter. A few clothing changes were required with Neil appearing like a deep sea diver and Sharrin having a glove change and pushing Stephen into contention for the Mr Grumpy award! From here we headed to TJ’s for tea and coffee (all routes head to TJ’s!)and we were able to write in the Way of the Roses book. On the way to TJ’s Jim had a mechanical and so Neil and Andy went back to help. The realisation that his inner tube would fit a child’s bike put Jim straight back to the main nomination for Mr Grumpy !
And then it was the last leg- heading via Driffield and off to Burton Agnes it wasn’t long before we could see the sea from the top of the hill. Downhill to Bridlington and it was a welcome sight to turn under the railway bridge and reach the promenade.
Celebrations followed with fizz and beers for all – It was then the important awards to deal with . Jim retained Mr Grumpy and after his efforts to keep smiling especially after feeling poorly the first day Mike was awarded Mr Happy. There was then a new award- Mrs Happy , which was awarded to Jenny for keeping smiling and keeping going! Kev and Vicky and Andy and Ruth were thanked for all their support and then it was a quick dash to warm up in the minibus and to head back to Beverley.
Everyone had a great time- it was challenging at times especially with the wind but it is such a beautiful route and we were all very happy and proud to be able to complete it – 170 miles- 1 puncture and no rain – where are we going next ?