Sunday, 24 April 2011

Easter Sunday Test Ride

At last, Daniel's bike was delivered to him yesterday evening. It's been in the pipeline for months and months, and now he finally has a bike which might actually get him through the 100-mile race (I don't doubt that he would have given it a good go even on his old Dawes, but that's by-the-by)!

So what better way to spend a sunny Easter Sunday, when you don't have one easter egg between you and an indulgent Saturday night curry is begging to be burned off at the soonest instance? After a lazy breakfast of fruit salad and eggy hot cross buns (probably not the breakfast of pros, but there we go), we set out in the late morning, Daniel's cries of "this is awesome!" and "what a machine!" disturbing the neighbourhood's peace. We're signed up to do a 64 mile race on 14th May, during which we will have to tackle the gruelling Bulmer Bank in the Howardian Hills. We've attempted and failed to get up there on numerous occasions now, so it seemed appropriate to give it one more test run before the big day. So, the route:

The goal was to try out Bulmer Bank just once more, then enjoy a picnic on a shady bench in a lovely village in the Howardian Hills. We took the scenic route out of York, avoiding the roads by hitting some dirt tracks, before joining the road back in Stamford Bridge. From there the roads are nice and quiet - perfect cycling territorry!

From the elevation map you can see exactly where the Howardian Hills are - check out that ascent at mile 20!

Elevation - note: I forgot to switch the Garmin back on after a picnic stop at mile 24 - we didn't actually jump off a cliff!

Fourth time lucky, I managed to make it up Bulmer Bank for the first time today, without falling off or giving up halfway through. Daniel got halfway and had to push. The main problem with it was the cars - they plough past one after the other, and it was actually one of the most car-heavy parts of the whole ride! It's especially scary going so steeply upwards, when you know that if you come off, you may well actually come right off! Getting to the top felt amazing, but I had a horrible cough and tickly throat for the rest of the ride (and it's still here now) - a fly must have got caught up in my struggle for breath!

The problem I'm having is going downhill, bizarrely. I'm terrified of being upside-down (be that on a roller-coaster, doing a headstand or toppling forwards over the handle bars), and I just can't seem to trust physics enough to get down those slopes without braking frantically, or even on one occasion, getting off and pushing! More practice is needed here.

We had a great picnic stop, with peanut butter sandwiches and pretty views over the hills. 39 miles was covered in total today - maybe a little more than we'd prepared for, as Daniel's legs were giving in during the last 10 miles (porridge for breakfast is a must, I say!). A great day out! Happy Easter! :-)

Off-roading towards Stamford Bridge

Soreen stop with a view, just before Bulmer Bank

Fuelling up in preparation for Bulmer Bank!

  Enjoying a well-earned peanut butter sandwich!