Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Way of the Roses Day 3: York to Bridlington

"No Dad I can't talk I'm going around a roundabout... well we're meeting you at the end, wherever that is"

Day 3 started like all the other days, stuffing our faces with as much food as possible and then watch Neil pump up his rear tyre as the slow puncture took effect overnight. The weather was still holding and we were hoping we could race ahead of it all the way to Bridlington. We knew we had a pretty flat day ahead of us with only a small bump in the middle of the day.

We pushed on, wanting to get the miles done as quickly as possible but sadly it wasn't quite the easy ride of the previous afternoon. Every so many miles we'd turn in to a head wind and suddenly we found it sapping our legs. While Spanners pushed on as he had done the whole trip my legs were having none of it and groaned every time I tried to raise the tempo. Taking my turn at the front of the Pannier Train in to another wonderful patch of headwind I pushed through through the pain, leaving myself empty as the others had no problem holding my wheel.

All morning it went on like that. A quick stop at Judson's Wine Bar in Pocklington didn't make me feel any better as Rich tucked in to a pint of his favourite bitter - it wasn't even lunch time yet, even Chef questioned him so it must have been early! I was hoping a cranberry juice would free my radicals or whatever it is that it's supposed to do.

Sadly setting off I discovered that it hadn't rejuvenated me and the pint certainly hadn't slowed Rich down. There's nothing worse than being at the back on a bike ride, everyone is pulling away from you while waiting for you at the same time. They're wanting to make progress and you're just struggling to turn the pedals. Jukebox kept me company but as soon as the road started to rise I just went backwards. We've been doing this long enough to know that everyone has a bad day now and again but it doesn't help when you're at the back and everyone is being so polite about it.

As we hit the hill to Huggate I just wanted to get off and walk but the road was barely rising, it would have been painfully slow and embarrassing. Jukebox kept dropping back to keep me going and as the pint hit Rich's bladder and they took a comfort break I pushed on up the hill with Jukebox. Reaching the top of the hill I actually dropped Jukebox which is not the polite thing to do when he's been waiting for you all morning but once you're in a rhythm you can't stop. Thankfully it was then downhill to Hutton Cranswick, where we stopped for lunch.

When I read Aron Ralston describe cutting his hand off in Between a Rock and A Hard Place, he said about the first pool of water he came across as being the best tasting water. He later went back to look at the water and it was the murkiest, dank water he'd seen - I think it even had a dead bird in it. Well Hutton Cranswick was like that for me. To stop for one hour and have a picnic by a pond was the best relief for me.

We basically raided the local Spar shop and had some baguettes, crisps and fizzy drinks but seemingly that was all I needed. We set off again and I was a changed man or more accurately my legs were like new. Suddenly I could keep the other guys wheels. I felt like a bit of a fraud, suddenly I could go up what little hills there were in a flash. I could have kept riding all the day. We hit the last few bumps and I raced up them past Rich who laughed and told me to piss off, I wasn't sure if that was because he'd been waiting for me all day or that his legs were now feeling three days effort but it certainly felt better being within earshot of the other guys. I'd been so preoccupied with my own woes I never thought any of the others could have been suffering. Yet Jon had mentioned aches and pains from carrying his luggage in a rucksack rather than panniers and Neil had certainly had a hard first day. Maybe I wasn't the only one.

As we headed in to Bridlington, Neil regaled us about his childhood holidays in Bridlington. I asked him if it had changed much and he said he didn't know as he was mainly by the seafront and it was a long time ago (one of the reasons Neil gave for his difficult first day was that he was the oldest in the group - I have 8 years on him) and then going around another roundabout someone in the team asked "are we going the right way". All of a sudden the penny had dropped, were we just following cycle route signs and no longer heading for the end of the Way of the Roses? Luckily we were fine and within seconds were heading to the seafront. Just as my Dad rings wanting to know where to meet us. As I explained we'd meet him at the end of the route, he pointed out there wasn't anything telling him where the end was.

Well we found it and eventually so did my Dad, the sign may say 170 miles but with a detour to Earby ours clocked in at 200, dead on. I can say that it was my favourite and the best C2C yet. The weather, the route, everything was perfect. What next? Well we could have ridden this one on a road bike so maybe next time we'll all have drop-handle bikes - or will we be dusting off the same two wheelers having not ridden them for a year? Probably the later but you never know.

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