Cambridge were playing at York on Monday and Ali thought it would be nice for us to ride over their together, unfortunately I wasn't up for such a long ride so Ali decided to head off on her own. I plotted her a route which was slightly hillier and longer than the google maps route but involved much less main road. I waved her off at 8am and here is her tale....
I didn't sleep well on Sunday night - full of nerves about my big adventure on Monday - but I managed to get up ever-so-early for a non-work day and set off for York just before 8am after Amy helped me get all my food and tools ready. I knew the first part of the route so wasn't too worried about navigating to start with...just more worried about the 2 big hills I knew were coming up.
I pootled along the road to Ramsbottom and then up towards Rawtenstall, taking it nice and easy to save my little legs before the first big climb out of Bacup. I'd never done the climb on a bike before (just in the car) and had been dreading it, but it was ok and I even caught a group of boys who had overtaken me as I pootled along the flat! My bike was going really well...the new rear wheel fitted by Cooksons made loads and loads of difference - if felt like I was flying! Then down, down, down towards Todmorden - a few hairy moments on the descent, but nothing too scary, before heading along the valley to Hebden Bridge, where I got snapped by a paparazza.
Then up the second big climb of the day out of Hebden Bridge, through Peckett Well where I thought I'd reached the top! Some spectacular views back towards Hebden, which looked glorious in the sunny weather.
More climbing followed before dropping down into Oxenhope. At this point I was feeling pretty pleased with myself: the two big climbs that I remembered from my quick glance at the elevation profile had already been ticked off without too much bother...maybe I'd even cycle home after the football?
A quick stop at Oxenhope to refill my water and then up another bit of a climb to Leeming. More descending...down and across to Bingley, still feeling full of beans and cheery. But then, 3hours into the ride (which is often when I go through a bad patch) all of these extra hills seemed to appear, that I'm sure weren't on the profile that I'd looked at! I stopped on the climb out of Bingley to take off my gillet and re-stock my little tri-bag of goodies, but I don't think I'd have made it up the climb without stopping. It felt like it went on forever, each corner rounded revealed more uphill and I knew at this point that if I stopped to update Amy on where I was up to that I'd probably end up ringing for a lift! So I kept going....
Finally, the climb was over and it was time for more descending down into Otley before heading over towards the outskirts of Wetherby where my morale was boosted by heading onto York Road! 14 almost totally flat miles followed - which was just what I needed (the tail-wind might just have helped too), and the surrounding fields were such a bright yellow with the oil seed rape in the sunshine.
The next thing I knew, I hit the outskirts of York and all that was left now was to make my way to Bootham Crescent for the football (their brief flirtation with the sponsorship "KitKat Crescent" thankfully being over with).
I made it with 45 minutes to spare, so plenty of time to lock up the bike and get changed into my all-important Cambridge shirt, before the traditional "yellow pages" ticker-tape welcome for the Mighty U's.
Then, after the football, all that was left was to cycle to the station to get the train back home to Bolton where a little Amy had ventured out on her bike to meet me for the short ride home.
All in all, a fantastic day's adventure - next year I'll be looking out for the York game to repeat it all over again! (so the hills can't have been that bad after all.....)