The Push Hog Diaries: Stage 9 – To Hill & Back

It’s Thursday 14th June, amazingly the weather is dry, so I’ve taken the opportunity to get out on my bike before it rains (again). Also, I’m nothing if not consistent, so it will come as no surprise that I’m heading toward North Newbald, but this time with the bit between my teeth.

Unlike Sunday where I struggled to get going, it’s different today, I’m riding well, averaging 14mph on an undulating road, which is good going for me and I’m enjoying pushing myself. Then as I take time to have a drink I’m passed by another cyclist, who gives a cheery “Hello, you look tired!” he’s right, but I’m not going to stop now, this is good fun.

Now refreshed, I decide to up my pace, so I give my fellow roadie a good half mile head start and over the next four miles I chase him down. I’m now averaging 16mph, albeit with a gathering tail win, but I’m using the drops on the down hill sections and keeping the momentum going up hill and slowly but surely I get closer and closer.

As I cycle into North Newbald I’m just 25m behind, my next challenge is to follow him up whichever hill he chooses, but will it be Burgate? The long climb with the false summits, or will it be Trundlegate? The short sharp climb which beat me on my last ride out. As we cross the village green the choice is made, we ride onto South Newbald Road, so that means we’re going up Trundlegate.

Although when I say ‘we’ I didn’t bargain on the fact that my new companion lived in the village, so as he peeled off into his driveway, all of a sudden I felt very lonely. I began to think this wasn’t such a great idea, things get even worse when I round the corner to stare up at the hill, the tail wind which helped me on my journey to the village was now a head wind.

It was time to grit my teeth, I change into my lowest gear and begin to attack the climb, I’m still feeling confident from my earlier successes so I push myself hard. Next thing I’m stood up as I approach the point of the hill I had previously stopped at, but no sooner have I passed that point I then hit the wall. I want to keep going, after all I’ve done the hard bit, but my lungs have other ideas, so disappointingly I stop and cool down in the brisk wind.

I rest for a couple of minutes, then get back on my bike to complete the remainder of the climb. I’d faired much better than last time, but the combination of the hill and the wind proved my downfall, I’ll be ready next time!

At the end of Whin Lane I decide to do a bit more climbing and turn on to Burgate Hill to ride the top section of the climb up to High Hunsley and the junction with the B1230. I then cross the busy road and head toward Walkington on the back roads, firstly taking in Brick Dike Lane, which joins on to White Gap Lane. The road is flat in places with some short down hill sections that steadily drop toward the junction with Common Road.

At this point the gradient changes and the road runs steeply down hill, so I use the opportunity to stretch my legs, reaching 35mph as I approach Bluestone Bottoms and the junction with Walkington Road and Little Weighton Road. I turn left and make the climb towards Townend Road, at which point the road once again leads down hill towards the B1230.

I take a right turn and ride along East End in Walkington, a road full of beer based temptation, firstly passing the Dog & Duck, then the Ferguson & Fawcitt with it’s Black Sheep on Tap, but I struggle past and even The Barrel can’t make me stop. I resolutely continue through the village past the duck pond and towards the crossroads with Broadgate.

At the traffic lights I turn left and make the usual journey along Coppleflat Lane, it’s hill now much easier than when I first tackled it, turning right on to Newbald Road and eventually completing my ride at the bottom of the Westwood.

Although Trundlegate continues to elude me, this has been my best ride yet, travelling 21 miles at an average of 14mph, I’m starting to see improvement already.

Total Distance Covered: 107 miles

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