Anyone up for a challenge? 147 miles ✅ 7300 feet elevation ✅ Despite these daunting figures, there was no shortage of willing participants for this year’s Wolds Way Ride. Training? What training? Just jump on a bike and get pedaling. I’m sure we’ll manage! After our last effort in 2019 I’m sure I told myself never again but as in the James Bond film Never Say Never Again.
Twelve Knights turned out at Market Cross at the earlier start time of 8am. It was still a little on the cool side but with the sun shining it promised to be a wonderful day for cycling. When we’d departed, our support team of Neil, Dave 💦🏡 and Alison headed off to meet us at the A1079. Our “opening sequence” took us over the Westwood to Walkington picking up the back road to High Hunsley. After plummeting down Trundlegate and through Newbald our first “warm up” climb loomed on the horizon as we headed up Stoneknowle hill to the junction of the A1079.
Setting off in two groups we made the short hop along the A1079 to Kiplingcotes Lane with our “support” car following behind à la Tour De France. While we headed downhill, the support car carried on to Thixendale to get ready for our first feed stop. Once on Spring Road, we turned into the light breeze as we cycled gently into Market Weighton and onwards to Londesborough up the “lovely” Intake Hill.
There was then a chance to recover as we followed the relatively flatter section down to Burnby and through Pocklington before ramping up again past Kilnwick Percy to Millington. It seemed a bit strange cruising past Ramblers Rest without stopping, but hey-ho we’ve got our own mobile makeshift cafe to look forward to. The route along Millington Dale was really pleasant with the wind now generally assisting. Unfortunately we all know what comes at the end of it with a “little” ramp up to Pocklington Lane. At this point Steve G left our group to return home for “domestique” duties while we turned into the wind again along York Lane winding our way to Garrowby. The zoom down past Robert Fuller’s gallery was a welcome respite as was the sight of our cafe trio set up in a layby in Thixendale.
Our support crew had really outdone themselves with rolls, sausages, bacon and eggs on offer along with tea or coffee and a wonderful array of cakes and other goodies. I heard tell that in order to decide who should wear the “Scottish” apron it was decided to give it to the one who was born closest to Scotland. It was either Scarborough or Sheffield. Now I don’t know about anyone else, but I would have thought the answer was evident but Neil being a competitive sort had to resort to getting a map out “just to check”!
After “blagging” some goodies Colin left to return home while the remaining ten riders continued along the valley to Leavening. It’s a gentle rise with a little “kicker” near the end. Turning north at Leavening we had a nice downhill run to the turn off at Penhowe Lane. This led us through the beautiful village of Westow then Kirkham. Turning off at Stone Trough Inn we were immediately faced with a rather steep ramp hitting 17% in the early stages before gradually easing off averaging around 6%. Now that we were suitably warmed up we had a more gentle climb along Menethorpe Lane eventually leading us to Norton.
It was not long until we reached Settrington. Unfortunately for Michael he suffered a puncture. Fortunately for the rest of it gave us a chance to rest before tackling the next climb. The first section is Horse Course Lane which “ambles” upwards with the gradient averaging 7.8% over 1km. Having struggled up that, we were then faced with Settrington Bank which starts with an encouraging sign warning road users of the 17% gradient to come. Ah well, head down and keep spinning/grinding away. The views from the top are certainly worth the effort.
From the top of Settrington Bank we turned to Duggleby and a welcome downhill recovery section before arriving at Kirkby Grindalythe. From there we had a further two mile lumpy section to negotiate with yet more steep ramps before leading into Sledmere and our lunch stop.
Our lunch stop was laid out beside the monument at Sledmere. Another chance to top up on the calories needed to fuel our way round the remainder of the route. Luckily most of the climbing was now out of the way and we could look forward to more gentle inclines. Perhaps that’s why Dave decided to join us for the second half. 🤔
Leaving Sledmere behind we set off to Foxholes via Helperthorpe and Weaverthorpe, an 8 mile slight descent with a following wind… “Luxury”. Enjoy it while it lasts as it was back to climbing (although a much easier incline than the first half) along Ganton Road to Fordon Lane. After Fordon we turned towards Hunmanby and another brief refreshment stop.
Continuing onwards, we started to make our way south to Reighton and Grindale before going east once more through Buckton and Bempton. Heading south once more we arrived at Limekiln car park overlooking the sea near Sewerby where our wonderful support crew had set up shop.
Heading homeward on the final leg of our journey we were faced with a slight head wind all the way from Bridlington through Burton Agnes, Lowthorpe and Nafferton to Driffield where we had a long wait for a train to pass. Now back onto more familiar territory we set off to Skerne and Hutton Cranswick where our support crew were ready to meet us one final time. Having agreed to meet at the Farm Shop cafe car park, we were surprised to see them outside the White Horse pub. Unfortunately Mark and Matthew had arrived too early and carried on before realising and having to double back. Some might say they just wanted to add extra miles.
Iain decided he’d had enough so decided to leave us at this point while some of us joined the “crew” in the pub garden. The temptation to have a pint at this point was almost irresistibile, in fact too much so for Michael. Martin and Karl opted not to stop and continued on promising to meet us at the pub in Beverley. By now, the sun was getting low in the sky and the temperature was starting to drop. We decided not to dawdle any longer…. but wait Michael has still got his pint. “You’d better glug that Michael” we all suggested as we started mounting our bikes. Never the best way to enjoy your drink. Still, it all counts towards rehydration! 🍺
Battling into the wind again along the exposed roads of Burnbutts Lane, the thought of the pub at the end helped to focus the mind. From Bracken farm we followed our normal route back through South Dalton and Etton to Cherry Burton and back to Beverley and the welcome sight of the Tiger Inn. “Pint please landlord….. make that two” 🍻 seemed to be the sentiment for most of us. Excuse the quality of the pictures from our apres-ride celebration. The photographer was probably a little “misty eyed”.
It was a superb end to a wonderful day of cycling in brilliant company. A huge congratulations to all who took part in the challenge. For anyone else who may be inspired by these efforts, it has already been proposed to repeat the challenge next year. Finally a massive thank you to our excellent support crew Neil, Dave and Alison who followed our progress all the way round using what Neil designated as “Puggy Cam”