The Push Hog Legacy: Stage 4 – Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Saddle Bag

I usually cycle twice a week, once on a weekend, but also on a weekday, and it’s amazing how different I ride on each occasion. At weekends I tend to be relaxed and cycle constantly and smoothly, whereas my weekday rides reflect my mood, if I’ve had a good day I’m relaxed, if I’ve had a bad day, well, I ride angry…

…Thursday 9th August was slap bang in the middle of a bad week, so I was determined to take out my frustrations on the road…

My ride begins in earnest on Constitution Hill as I leave the village of Molescroft and cycle toward Cherry Burton along the A1035 Malton Road. I hit the hill hard and over the half mile stretch of tarmac I destroy my previous best time to record a new best of 1 minute 42 seconds, averaging 18mph along the way.

I ride into Cherry Burton seeking out my next challenge, this time it’s a climb which begins on Main Street, before turning right on to Etton Road where the road rises steeply to peak at the top of a bridge, covering almost a mile in length. I’m determined, so as I begin the climb I get out of my saddle and do my best to keep some kind of momentum going. As I cycle onto the steepest part I am still going fast, pushing hard I reach the top in 2 minutes 54 seconds, not my best ever time, but it felt good having a go.

As I descend the hill on New Road I ride into Etton, before taking a left hand turn and take a bit of a rest as I cycle along Main Street. I’ve essentially ridden the first section of the Big G/Mini G, but this is where I leave that route and instead head along Gardham Road. Cycling through the village of Gardham, I ride around some old farm buildings, where I’m slowed by a couple of tractors going about their business, I give them plenty of space and only pass when it’s safe. Unfortunately my hesitancy around the heavy machinery has made me lose some momentum, so as I begin the long climb of ‘Gardham Drag’ towards the A1079, it’s not long before I have to dig deep to keep going at a decent pace, as although it’s not a steep hill, it is tough.

The climb ends at the junction with the busy A1079 York Road, and the heavy traffic is an excuse to take a swig of my richly deserved drink. Once a gap in the traffic appears I’m straight across the road and I join the country lane leading to the tiny hamlet of High Gardham. By now I’m beginning to tire and along the country lane I’m passed by a fellow roadie out on his travels. This is enough to give me a kick up the rear, so I inject some much needed impetus into my cycling and I continue along the country lane, which moves steadily up hill, dropping in places, before I reach the descent with Stoneknowle Hill.

Now, regular readers will have gleaned that I’m a bit of a fan of Strava, but the descent Stoneknowle Hill is the only example I have found so far of irresponsible use of ‘Segments’. The reason I think it is irrespnsible, dangerous even, is that this segment, which is two miles long, begins on Stoneknowle Hill, however at the bottom of the steepest section the route takes a right hand turn on to Beverley Road before finishing in North Newbald. At the point of making the right hand turn a cyclist could quite easily have reached 40mph, then with no line of sight left or right, is expected to cross the road across the flow of traffic. I know this is a country lane, but it is still the main route between Newbald and Beverley, so it’s not a ‘KoM’ that I will be having a go at, nor would I suggest anybody else does either.

After making the descent of Stoneknowle Hill, I slow for the junction with Beverley Road, then turn right and cycle into North Newbald, readying myself for my next challenge. Cycling onto Eastgate, I take a left to join Ratten Row, before turning to face Burgate, a lung busting hill I’ve grown to enjoy, in a way. Taking a deep breath and a sip of my drink, I begin the ascent.

As mentioned in previous blogs, Burgate is made up of three rises (It’s actually four, but I rarely take the go to the very top), the first which begins in the village is the steepest section and depending on how you tackle it will usually reflect your overall success on the climb. I begin in a low gear and steadily make my way past the stone buildings lining the hill as I leave the village and find myself in open ground surrounded by arable land, with some protection from the wind in the form of hawthorn hedgerows lining the hill. The first climb is tough on the legs and lungs, but it doesn’t last for too long before the ground levels and I get some rest in the first flat before the next ramp.

Gathering myself and still determined to make this a good climb, I take a little momentum into the next section of the hill, the easier incline and before long the worst is over as the road once again levels and I can get my breath. As I approach the final climb I keep my cadence high and although the ground soon rises below my feet, I manage to take the momentum around the shallow left hand corner, before taking the left hand turn onto Littlewood Road.

Littlewood Road, which along with Middlehowe Road, takes a long down hill route into the village of Walkington, is a single track lane and I up my pace averaging a good 20mph over the two mile road. From here I ride towards Beverley Westwood along Broadgate, before dropping into Beverley on Keldgate Road, a long down hill section of road.

As I ride into Beverley I cycle along Keldgate, making a left hand turn onto Eastgate, where in the shadow of the Minster I effectively end my ride. As I cruise home, feeling much better, but more tired, I have covered a total of 21 miles, averaging just over 14mph.

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Total Distance Covered: 79 miles

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