The Push Hog Legacy: Stage 10 – If At First You Don’t Succeed…

I was starting to get a bit nervous, but finally a few days before ‘The Heart of York Bike Ride’ I finally received my welcome pack, including a route map and number. The route of the sportive takes in the Howardian Hill’s in and around Castle Howard in the Yorkshire Dales, I’m pretty sure there will be some decent climbs, so I decide to get in some last minute training.

It’s Wednesday 5th September, so wanting to get some hill climbing practice I decide to head out towards the Yorkshire Wolds to have another crack at the ‘Hull Thursday Newbald TT’. Starting my ride in Beverley I cycle towards the start point on Wold Road, taking in the climb of Newbald Hill over the Westwood, a decent climb which helps to warm up my legs.

Once at the top of Newbald Road, I head along Walkington Heads, before riding into Walkington and taking the steady ascent along Middlehowe Road to the Time Trial start point at the junction with Wold Road. Taking a breather and a sup of my drink I position my bike on the start line and begin my second attempt at this circuit.

Learning my lesson from my first shot I decide to take the ride along Wold Road steadily, riding at an easy 20mph to the junction with Walkington Heads / Beverley Road. Once at the left hand corner, I continue my pace on the undulating road. This new tactic is paying dividends, as although I find the undulations difficult to keep a rhythm, I’m not running out of steam and as I reach the short drag up to Mount Pleasant Drop I’m in good shape.

As I prepare to make the descent, I hear a car behind me, but as it approaches it just hovers behind me, as I begin to race down hill, approaching up to 30mph, the driver decides to overtake, then at the corner at the bottom of the hill the car grinds to a halt! I have to put on the anchors to avoid plowing into his boot, I attempt to overtake, but the driver moves on, then 100yards later pulls into a lay-by as another car approaches, which means I have to stop to wait as well, I could have screamed, it was going so well.

Once the oncoming vehicle passes the car moves on and I do my best to get a tow, it’s the least they can do after ruining what was surely meant to be a great effort! Before long I’m back up to 30mph and I carry this momentum into North Newbald. As I speed into the village I make the left turn onto Townend Road, a short sharp hill which leads to Burgate, the two mile long hill on the Time Trial.

Climbing out of my saddle, I’m determined to make up some time and I quickly reach the junction with Burgate. Making the left hand turn I continue to work my peddles hard, I’m tiring but feeling okay. As I reach the top of the first section I begin to fatigue and decide to rest on the flatter section of road before hitting the next climb hard. By the time I reach the last section of the hill up to Littlewood Road I’m really tired and the small climb seems to take an age before levelling out at the left hand turn. I manage the total climb in a time of 12 minutes and 21 seconds, almost 40 seconds off my previous best, but still a good effort.

Once on the final section of road, a two and a half mile drag strip to the junction of Wold Road, I put the hammer down and before long I’m cruising at 20mph, my arms shaking from the rough road surface. At this speed I quickly tick off the yards and head down I approach the final half mile which is largely uphill towards the finish line.

As I finally finish, I’m tired and stop for a rest and a drink, that’s a sign that I’ve tried my best and although my time is only 31 minutes and 44 seconds, it beats my previous best by almost a minute. I am disappointed not have have broken the golden 30 minute barrier, but I know I’d have been very close if I hadn’t have stopped on the first section, so maybe next time.

Once recovered from the time trial, I head home, making a left hand turn onto Wold Road, then a right to ride toward Beverley via Walkington Heads, finally finishing my ride by whizzing across the Westwood down Newbald Hill having covered just over 21 miles at an average speed of 15mph, decent preparation for the sportive.



Total Distance Covered: 197 miles

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