The Push Hog Diaries: Stage 15 – More Tea Vicar?

Wind, I had plenty of it when I set off to North Newbald on Sunday 15th July, on what could be my last training session before The Big G – Grimpeurs des Wolds Cyclosportive.

The problem with wind is that it isn’t always something you know about until it rears its ugly head, so riding through the outskirts of Beverley I seemed relatively unaffected. However, once on the Westwood Pastures it suddenly dawned on me that I was about to have a rather uncomfortable ride.

Turning off York Road on to Newbald Hill, one of my favourite Strava challenges, I am hit with a huge gust which almost takes me off my bike. Riding up the hill is hard work, no chance of breaking any records, before long I’m in the lowest gear and keeping my head tucked in.

The head wind is coming west to east, so for the seven mile ride to North Newbald I barely manage to get over 10mph, surely riding into the wind is comparable if not worse than going up hill. Several times I think about going back, but one thing keeps me going, that is because the journey back runs almost parallel, therefore I’d have a tail wind.

So I keep going, only getting moments of rest bite when I’m sheltered by the hawthorn hedge rows, which line this stretch of road, however as I approach Mount Pleasant Drop I began to build up speed because the wind had dramatically dropped.

Wanting to get home to watch ITV4’s Tour de France highlights, I ride into North Newbald and to give myself a bit of a head start on the climb up Burgate by taking the short cut up Townend Road. Although slightly shorter than starting the climb from The Green, Townend Road is still a steep climb and I use up plenty of gears before turning left on to Burgate.

My climb is in perfect conditions, although without the expected tail wind, there isn’t even a whisper of a breeze, it’s very quiet and visibility is much better than when I last climbed this hill. I change down the gears until I find myself peddling strongly and I appear to be climbing well, so it’s not long before I’m on the first plateau and heading slightly downhill before the next climb.

As I have mentioned in my previous posts, Burgate is effectively four climbs in one hill, so there is opportunity to rest between inclines. It’s not long before I begin the second stage of the climb, now in the bottom gear, but keeping my cadence going and enjoying the ride. Again, the road flattens and I get a breather before the last section up to Littlewood Road, where I turn left.


Once at the top I’m pleased with my efforts, which are rewarded with knocking two minutes off my previous best time.

Feeling tired, I free wheel the majority of the two mile journey along Littlewood Road up to the junction with Wold Road. After that rest, and now feeling suitably refreshed, I stop at the junction with Wold Road and look long and hard at Middlehowe Road, a long straight flat section of tarmac just over a mile long and a popular Strava challenge called ‘Walkington Drop’.

I fancied the chances of breaking my own PB, as my legs were warmed up and the road was empty, so checking the coast was clear, I gave it some beans to the start line. I quickly reached 30mph, the conditions were perfect, not a breath of air and I accelerated more. On the horizon I could see a couple of dog walkers in the middle of the road, but confident that they would see me and move to the side, I continued.

As the dog walkers got closer it was clear that they had seen me, but they and their flea bitten mut were not moving.

“Please Move” I think to myself.

I continue at speed, but with less than 200m between us they still make no attempt to move.

“F**king Move!” I think again.

But they didn’t flinch at all, so I could only do one thing and I feathered my breaks and sat up. Typically this was the catalyst for the ‘Party Poopers’ to grab their hound and move, not before they both shoot me a look that could kill at 100 paces.

I would have liked to point out to them that they were the ones who were walking on a public highway with a 60mph limit, not me, I bet Bradley Wiggins doesn’t have to put up with this s**t, I know Cav wouldn’t!

Once past the ‘hazard’, I hit the drops again and tried to finish off in style, but I don’t quite reach the heady heights of 30mph again and I was relieved when I rode into Walkington and the finish line. It’s not until I get home and download my Strava times that I realise that my ‘Walkington Drop’ ride has earned me joint second place overall, only 6 seconds off first place, so I was pleased to have got into the top three, but gutted to have missed out on a definite Gold.


I finish my ride by retracing my cycle tracks back onto Beverley Westwood, having covered almost 19 miles, a third of which was into a head wind, so I’m pleased to average 14mph. Bring on the Big G…

Total Distance Covered: 244 miles

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