The Push Hog Diaries: Stage 8 – Col de Tourmalet Trundlegate

It’s early on Sunday 10th June, the weather is dry for once and cool without a breath of wind. I’m sat on a park bench in North Newbald wondering if this was such a good idea, maybe even wondering what I’m doing here. It’s taken me almost an hour to ride just over ten miles, I think I must be having one of those days when your mind is awake but your body is still in bed.

On my way here, riding along Walkington Heads, I slowed down at the junction with Dale Gate to ponder taking a different, flatter route, but I carried on even though I couldn’t seem to get my bike moving, constantly checking my rear tyre to make sure my lack of pace wasn’t due to a puncture.

I even stopped at the junction of Wold Road, got off my bike and were it not for a fellow cyclist ignoring my cheery “Good Morning!” I’d have turned around and gone home. But, for some reason or another, I was so put out that this fellow cyclist couldn’t even be bothered to even nod in my general direction, even though at this ungodly hour of the day I might be the only person he passes on his travels, I took this as inspiration to push on. So I did, slowly but surely I dragged myself to that park bench in North Newbald.

If I’m being honest, I even know why I’m here, not unfinished business this time, it’s a new challenge, so I finish off my orange Club biscuit, take a final slurp from my bottle and clamber on my bike, because it’s time to see what all the fuss is about, it’s time to tame Trundlegate…

I cycle steadily down Ratten Row and take a left at the Church and head along South Newbald Road. The road very steadily leads up hill, a gradient my eyes hardly notice but my legs tell me it’s there, I then approach the junction with Trundlegate, sign posted with a ‘Cycle Route 66‘ sign.

The road starts off flat, but as I round the first corner my heart sinks, this is an unexpected sight, a short, straight and steep climb, certainly like nothing I’ve tackled before, it doesn’t look like it belongs in East Yorkshire. However I’m not beaten yet, I begin the climb, slowly passing a farm house at the foot of the hill, inching up the incline, before long I’m out of my saddle, usually the beginning of the end, but I keep going.

Now I am trying to beat out a rhythm, “One, Two, Three” over and over in my head, I glance over my shoulder and see I have company, a fellow cyclist is at the bottom of the hill, so added inspiration to keep going.

“Keep Going” I keep telling myself, but my lungs are now like molten lava, my legs are okay but I just can’t breath, I’m nearing a corner and decide to aim for the apex, before long I’m snaking across the road trying my best to keep going, but it’s no good, I unclip and stop.

Puffing and panting I look up and watch as the other cyclist slowly rides up to where I’ve stopped and through his sweat covered grimace he manages a smile, before passing on some words of encouragement and then carries on, keeping the same pace and rhythm as he rides over the crest of the hill, I’m impressed and disappointed at the same time.

I look at the road ahead of me, it’s nowhere near as steep as the first half mile, infact it’s nothing but a long incline, but I’m shattered and no sooner have I climbed back on my bike I’m climbing off again. I decide to keep moving, so I walk, the ultimate humiliation for a cyclist, a beaten man, shoulders slumped, feeling sorry for myself. After a few minutes I’m feeling better and with a deep breath I’m on my bike and manage to get up the remainder of the hill without incident.

Before long I’m back in my stride and as I near the end of Trundlegate and join Whin Lane, I’m now feeling better, almost warmed up. At the junction with Burgate I cross the road and join Littlewood Road, a narrow country lane, which gently travels down hill past arable farm land towards the crossroads with Wold Road. I continue across the road to Middlehowe Road and ride into Walkington to end my journey.

Certainly not my best day in the saddle, but the return journey made up for the problems on the hill, averaging 12.5mph over 20 miles, not bad considering the amount of time spent off my bike.

Total Distance Covered: 86 miles

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