Marvin, my trusty Lieutenant from The Big G, has managed to find a new Sportive, the only problem is that it’s in less than two weeks time, that doesn’t leave me much time to properly prepare, so I’ll just pretend that’s what my last eight rides were for and write a blog about it *Note to self: Don’t write down thoughts*.
Anyhow, this new Sportive is called ‘The Heart of York Bike Ride’ and it starts and finishes in York, however I can’t really say much more than that at this point, mainly because that’s about as much information as its organisers, The British Heart Foundation, have submitted, no route map, nothing at all. Therefore the best thing I can do is get out on my bike, which is what I did on Sunday 2nd September.
As it turned out, I only managed eighteen miles, mostly due to the fading light of late summer. The ride started well enough by heading out of Beverley town centre, along Cartwright Lane and eventually over the Westwood towards Walkington. Once at the junction with Coppleflat Lane, I rode straight ahead onto East End and through the village, making a right hand turn onto Northgate, a tricky short climb on a poorly maintained road.
Now I have to hold my hands up as I’ve nothing to feel proud about this, but as I began the climb I noticed a kid on a mountain bike almost a third of the way up the hill, he resembled ‘Chunk’ from the Goonies. Not such a problem you might think, apart from the fact he was giving it some beans and there were plenty of spectators about who in my mind were thinking “This fat kid on a supermarket mountain bike is going to beat this fat bloke on a racing bike to the top”! There was no way on gods earth that was going to happen, so reminiscent of Contador after a nice juicy steak meal, I leapt out of my saddle and climbed like I’ve never climbed before.
The initial climb went well, before long I was within reach and then we were side by side, I glanced across to acknowledge his considerable effort, but the little sod accelerated! I was in the red at this point and he’d barely broken a sweat, I had to dig deep to save face, as its no exaggeration to say the crowd had swelled by this point, no doubt hoping to see something special. About 50 yards from the top I managed to break him, I continued at pace and by the time I passed the junction with Manor House Lane, I glanced back and ‘Chunk’ was a mere blip in the distance. It felt good, I could have raised my hands in victory, but nobody likes a show off and I do feel bad about it now, ish!
I continued my ride towards Walkington Heads, where I decided to head towards Bishop Burton along Finchcroft Lane, a long straight road which ends at the junction with the busy A1079. Crossing the road I aimed for Cherry Burton by riding along Bishop Burton Road, which includes the roller coaster descent of Granny’s Hump, before gradually ascending towards the village.
Once in the village I tested out my legs on the short climb up Etton Road, but with no kids to humiliate I didn’t seem to have the required motivation, however Strava tells a different story, as I achieved a PB of 57 seconds, leaving me 28th out of 304 – Not too shabby I’m sure you’ll agree!
At the bottom of the New Road Descent I decided to turn right, I’m not sure why, but I did, and not really knowing where I was going I managed to find myself at the junction with the B1248, Etton Dykes. As the sun was starting to set, I didn’t fancy riding into the unknown, so I turned back.
As I cycled back into Etton, I spied a small hill, sort of like the kind you might find cobbled on the continent, short and steep. It turns out the road is called Chantry Lane, so I turned right and gave it my best shot. As it happened it was a pitiful attempt of 1 minute 25 seconds, but as I enjoyed the challenge so much I’ve added it as a segment to Strava.
Once at the top of the climb I turned left and headed along Warter Road, a long narrow flat lane, which brought me to the junction with South Dalton Road, which loops round and brings me back to Etton via Main Street. Finding myself at the bottom of the New Road climb, I have a good go at beating my previous PB, I do this in style proving I have my climbing legs back!
Feeling tired and conscious that the light is fading, I decide to retrace my route back to Walkington, via Cherry Burton and taking in one last climb, Granny’s Hump. Riding towards my next challenge I up the pace and as I hit the bottom of the ascent I’m carry a lot of momentum, before long I’m out of the saddle and putting all my effort into getting to the top. As I reach the junction with the A1079 I’ve managed to equal my previous best of 48 seconds, so I’m pleased with that.
Not wishing to push my luck any more, I ride towards Beverley, taking a left hand turn at Walkington Heads, before joining Newbald Road and the fast descent across the Westwood and the end of my ride, which covered 18 miles at an average 15mph.
Total Distance Covered: 176 miles
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