With 13 days until the Coast to Coast in a day, a group of 10 decided to head to the Yorkshire Dales for some hill training. Weather forecast was looking grim, so I knew it would be character building and a good opportunity to learn to ride up and down the hills in the wet. 6am we departed from home and headed to Linton, where we parked up outside a lovely pub called the Fountaine Inn. Note for fellow female cyclists,the nearest toilets to Linton are in Grassington, we discovered these today after drinking too much coffee en route!!!
Talking about wee stops, I never realised how weak all of the men's bladders were, especially Johnny, it must have been at least 5 wee stops for him!!
The route for today's ride was taken from 'Le Petit Depart: Sportive Ride' by Tony Sheppard, which the 2014 Tour de France Stage 1 Route out of Skipton and up the stunning Upper Wharfedale Valley. Special thank you to Tony for being our sat nav - 69.3 miles with 4474ft of elevation.
I was thoroughly looking forward to the hills, but I knew it wasn't going to be easy and I felt nervous about the descents in the rain. One descent which sticks in my mind was out of Aysgarth, I can't remember the gradient but all I can remember is Roy's back wheel locking up behind me, causing him to unclip for grip whilst trying to stay on his bike sliding onto the wrong side of the road with an on coming car heading up. My heart was in my mouth - there were a few swear words and screams!!!!!
Nearly halfway took us to Hawes, which was a perfect opportunity for a caffeine fix and fuel stop. So, 10 soggy cyclists took over The Bay Tree Café & Bistro in Hawes. At this point we had done 33 miles! Socks and shoes were placed onto the radiators to dry out - yes the radiators were on full and yes it is June!!!!
Leaving a café stop is always fun being wet and cold and yes straight into a climb to take us out, its always fun warming up the legs but it was more than worth it as the descent towards Horton in Ribblesdale was just amazing. Long and winding, just a shame it wasn't sunny. I have done this stretch of road before and the smiles then said it all, I absolutely loved the ride into here, the viaduct is stunning and always full of walkers heading towards Pen y Ghent or heading towards Whernside. Just a shame it was grim today and the summits were under cloud.
The conversation then turned towards the next climb out of Settle, the fact Tony said last time he did it he walked up it, weren't helping my head. We arrive at the climb out of Settle, 25% gradient. Lots of traffic, too many wandering cyclist for my liking and I wimped out of cycling up and opted for taking my shoes off and walking up in my socks, a lot easier than walking in cleats. The safest option for me and a massive well done to the guys that cycled up, it was a toughie!!!
After this toughie, we headed back towards Linton. This included some cheeky little hills but by now it had started to dry up - I had a few tears going up one hill, can't remember the location, by this point I was finding the climbing tough going and struggling with my cadence and mentally I had let the negative thoughts take over. Thank you to Johny and Tony for slapping me back into action and after that I was fine. This is all character building and in a way I'm pleased I've hit a low point to help prep up for the C2C.
Before I knew it we had arrived back in Linton, the miles seem to go by very quickly and reflecting on it, I enjoyed the ride and very pleased to get some more hill work in before the big day.
Note to self: 5 days in the Isle of Man for the TT drinking and eating probably wasn't the best preparation before the C2C but that's fitting in a life around training!!
Today's group included:
- Tony Sheppard
- John Collingwood
- Steve Johnson
- Tim Long
- James Andrew
- Shaun Wilson
- Dan Leaning
- Roy Lyons
… and Myself
See you all in the Lake District for our next adventure - 27th June, 150 miles with 4500 metres of ascent.
Written by Ali Hindle