Rather like the Grand Prix racing season that has races every two weeks it seems HAWOG is getting in to the swing of cycling every three weeks. First there was the Lake District at Easter and recently the May Bank holiday to Boggle Hole.
Surprisingly cycling around Boggle Hole ended up harder than the Lake District with reasonably steep ascents being almost guaranteed every 45 mins or so. Like the Lake District there was much enthusiasm for the first day's cycling with the level waning on Sunday and Monday.
However Saturday saw 11 cyclists setting out from the local hire centre (for the benefit of those without their one bike) for a decent 50k ride. We all knew that there were a fair few hills with the telling chevrons on them on the route, but even so each one came as a bit of a shock to the system (for the interested there is a map of the route and a height profile in this newsletter - ascent over the day was about 1050m).
At last we made the lunch stop in Lealholm and the significant lunchtime order was beer and chips. While lunch was suitably fortifying it left muscles the chance to stiffen, making the task of climbing the major hill somewhat harder. We all made it in the end, some cycling, some walking and some rolling around on the floor (cramps not desperation! Or so he says). After that everyone was keen to push on with noone taking the shortcut when it was offered and we all kept together for the run in to Whitby.
The approach to Whitby involves a very steep hill, which we all took at our own pace. The views were stunning, and we stopped and waited at the bottom. Julie, Harry and I watched the sea, and waited. We had some chocolate and waited. We looked at watches and waited. Then, great commotion! Ducks were crossing the road! The cars were screeching to a halt round the blind bend at the bottom of the hill. The ducks made it. Excitement over, we waited. Eventually the rest of our party collected together and we were ready for the last leg into Whitby, and a pause for a pint or two. To top it all off there was a quick sprint to carry the bike to the top of the Abbey steps and then, back to the hire centre and the cars.
Day 2 was stage managed as a gentler day with a reasonable ride in to Whitby, and a relatively shorted ride back, with the afternoon spent in Whitby catching some of the attractions we missed the day before. At the start some hard bargains were struck with gel saddles being lent and borrowed to ease the soreness of the previous days cycling, and we set off.
The notable feature of the cycling was the waning energy and enthusiasm of the cyclists with only myself attacking the double chevrons in and out of Littlebeck. Some of the party did have the energy to break up their cycling with a spot of rowing though!
Whitby was heaving in the sunny weather, so I took opportunity to chill out on the pier and watch the waves and the world go by. Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent (Liz and Yogen) arrived later to carry on the hard work of sitting in the sun. Other members of the group found alternatives, so if you want a detailed rundown of the beer available in Whitby pubs, ask Norman!
As the day marched on, we tackled the Abbey steps once more and made the cycle ride back to prepare for dinner. The evening involved an uncharacteristic (?) drinking session at the Bay View Hotel and a walk along the wet slippery beach in the dark, some aided by moonlight, flashlight some by camera flash.
By day 3 it was only the hard and tough crew that were able to claim the yellow jersey, with Yogen Liz and myself taking a lovely ride on to the northern coast on somewhat flatter roads. The start was stunning with a 5km gentle downhill run down one of the most lovely valleys I've seen, ending up in Staithes. Staithes is sort of a like Whitby without the tourists. Good pubs and cafes, no amusement arcades and no masses of heaving humanity. An excellent place to go.
After a welcome pause we pushed on the next town to have lunch and then back along Grinkle Lane to the reservoir carpark where we'd started from and our long journey home.
Report by Malcolm