The Push Hog Diaries: Stage 3 – Roadie Runner

So here I am, it’s late April and in the hallway of my home is the largest cardboard box I’ve seen in a long time, somewhat strangely the manufacturers name is not what I was expecting, maybe they’ve sent me the wrong bike, only one way to find out…

…panic over, there she is, my new road bike, a Cannondale Synapse Tiagra Compact.

Lifting the bike out of its packaging I’m instantly impressed with how light she feels, and after a few minutes admiring the curves of her frame I’m in the garage, adjusting the handlebars, fitting the pedals and making sure the tyres are up to pressure, I can’t wait to have a ride…then the heavens open, so a quick spin around the block is all I can manage before putting the bike away for the evening.

The next day I’m up at the crack of dawn, I checked the weather and thank goodness the rain had stopped, so off I go, just a 4 mile ride, just to see how it compares with my mountain bike on the same route. Within 20 minutes I’m back at home, amazed that on my first ride I’d shaved off 8 minutes without breaking a sweat, I think I’m going to like this bike.

For the next couple of weeks it never seems to stop raining, a shame because I really wanted to take my bike out in the countryside, but not such an issue as I was still in training for the Beverley 10k. I did however manage to get out on my bike a couple of times the week before the race, so I decided each time to ride the route of the 10k to give me an idea of what I’d let myself in for.

The race begins at Beverley Minster and takes a route through the centre of the town, past the Library and along Lairgate a narrow Georgian one way street towards St.Mary’s Church. The route continues through North Bar and on to the Westwood common land outside the town. At this point the terrain starts to get steeper, a small hill, known locally as Newbald Hill, is approximately a mile long and starts off with a small gradient but soon rises as the road leads away from the town, so quickly I’m out of my saddle trying to get a tempo going and it’s not long until I’m in the lowest of my 18 gears, regretting not going for the triple group set!

Over the brow of the hill, the route levels out for another mile or so along Newbald Road, it gives me time to get my breath back and change back into the big ring, just in case somebody is watching! At the end of a country lane the route turns on to Coppleflat Lane and quickly a decent little valley appears, so moving into my top gear, hands in the drops, head down I put all my effort into seeing what speed I can reach. At the bottom of the hill before the road rises up I check my speedo, I’ve managed 32mph, not bad considering by now I’m knackered.

The road gently rises towards the outskirts of the small village of Walkington and continues to a cross roads where the route turns back along Broadgate towards Beverley and rises for another mile passing fields and a modern housing development on smooth asphalt before gently rolling down hill across the Westwood and into the town via narrow Victorian promenades and streets lined with Georgian town houses. The route comes to a close across the cobbles of Saturday Market and has a long finishing straight along the main shopping street finally coming to a halt in Wednesday Market.

Although the route is designed as a 10km running race it’s actually quite a nice route to take on your bike, although two cattle grids on the exit and entry to the Westwood manage to shake your bones and should be avoided in the wet.

Distance Covered: 16 miles

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