With Mr. Grimpeuse being away for the weekend, I thought it would be a good opportunity to meet up with girlfriends MexicanHat and SerensMum for a Saturday morning cycle ride. We met at Greengates, Bradford at 9am. It was a bit cloudy but we were tried to be optimistic as we headed to Otley via Horsforth and down East Chevin Road. Sadly the clouds continued to darken, and as we climbed out of Askwith and as were heading over the tops to Blubberhouses we could see the rain and mist closing in on us rapidly.
It didn’t take long for us to get soaked through to the skin. Even ‘waterproof’ jackets couldn’t cope with the torrential downpour that hit us whilst on the bleak moorland on the way to Greenhow Hill. There was thunder too, but bravely onwards we battled; we didn’t have much option!
Once you’re wet, you’re wet, but it was my feet that were bothering me most. My shoes had soaked through and my socks were wet and squelchy and as a result my feet were starting to freeze. All I could do was put up with it.
The weather eventually brightened up temporarily, but as we arrived a Bolton Abbey the rain was returning again. With impeccable timing we opened the door to the café just as the power went out. Away went my plan to try and dry as much as possible with the hand dryer in the loo! Fortunately they had enough hot water for a cup of tea which went down nicely with a tasty fruit scone.
Of course, the danger with stopping is it can be hard to get back on the bike again. Once we were going again it wasn’t so bad though. It was generally a little brighter, although we did stop in a bus shelter for a few minutes in Ilkley to try and avoid yet another brief downpour.
As we got back to Bradford there was almost a hint of sunshine and we were feeling much better. Just typical!
Once home I was keen to dive straight in the shower but forced myself to stay out and clean the bike and oil the chain. It really just had to be done. But my plan to spend the afternoon doing housework did disappear. After the morning I’d had, all I felt like doing was having a nice warm bowl of soup and curling up on the sofa with a blanket.
It had been a nice route with great company, just a shame about the weather! See the route here.
The 17th July was a grey morning and a complete contrast from the glorious sunshine we’d had on the training ride a couple of weekends earlier. It was about 8:20am when we set off from JD Cycles in Ilkley. Most of the other 100 women had already departed up to 45 minutes earlier, but since we weren’t Ilkley residents and had to travel, MexicanHat, SerensMum, RawdonRider, and myself couldn’t quite manage such an early start.
It was a drizzly but uneventful ride to Wetherby, where we had our first stop. We didn’t hang around for long – just enough time to munch a banana and visit the loo. Then we headed out of Wetherby and onto National Cycle Route 66 which was traffic-free for a couple of miles to Thorpe Arch trading estate. From there it was onwards to York where we had a brief stop at Askham Bar, south-west of the city. We decided against going into the Tesco superstore there, as we were keen to press on and reach the half-way point at Selby.
From Askham Bar almost all the way to Selby was more traffic-free cycle path, which was pleasant, although the drizzle had started to turned to rain. By the time we got to the Abbey in Selby (our half-way point) it was pouring down, so we were glad to for a bit of shelter and cake.
After a slice (or two!) of cake it was time to set off back. RawdonRider had decided she would tag onto a steadier group for the return to Ilkley. That meant the three of us left could up the pace a bit for second half of the ride.
By the time we got back to Wetherby (75 miles covered) I knew I needed to eat some ‘proper’ food. I was feeling a little nauseous from energy bars, bananas and cake. We called in at Morrisons at just gone 3pm, where lucky for us the sandwiches had just been marked down to £1. They were welcome nourishment.
For me, the final 15 miles were hard. My nausea was getting worse which was making it harder to drink and keep hydrated. There was an awful headwind which was making things extra difficult. As a small and light person I can generally fly up hills, but the wind really takes it out of me. Fortunately MexicanHat was still going strong and kindly did her best to shelter SerensMum and I.
It was just after 5pm when we got back to JD’s. But what’s this? My computer only said 97 miles, so another quick loop around Ilkley was called for to add another couple of miles on and make it just over 99. That was near enough.
For the next half hour we watched more women arrive back. I was tired but very pleased to have completed my first century ride. The weather could have been better, but I’d still done it and as a result managed to raise £400 for Marie Curie Hospice in Bradford. I met some lovely people in the process too. I now can’t wait to find out the grand total!
On Sunday 17th July, one hundred women will be cycling one hundred miles from Ilkley to Selby and back in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care. I shall be one of them.
Saturday 2nd July was to be a training ride along about 4/5ths of the route. As I was feeling a bit anxious about the event in 3 weeks time, I thought I would go along; I could meet some of the other riders, try out (most of) the route, and most importantly, see if I could cycle 80 miles of it without too much trouble.
About 25 of us met up at JD Cycles in Ilkey that sunny morning. I suspect many were a little nervous – this was going to be ‘make or break’ as if we could manage this 80 mile ride, we almost certainly could manage the century.
What unfolded that day was one of my most enjoyable rides ever. There was a range of bikes – road bikes, hybrids, MTB’s - being ridden by women of all different ages, shapes and sizes. One thing everybody had in common however, was sheer enthusiasm. It was complete delight to meet such a lovely and enthusiastic group of women. The positive buzz that seemed to surround the ride was wonderful.
I think the sisters who are organising this charity ride (Claire Macina and Adele Wilkin), deserve a medal. This event appears to have inspired so many women to get on bikes, it’s amazing. One rider in her mid-40′s was telling me that signing up for the ride has changed her life – she’s gone from doing very little exercise to training on her bike several times a week. She lost weight, got fitter, and feels great as result. I’m felt humbled by some women there who apparently hadn’t ridden a bike for years until just a few months ago, and yet there they were on an 80 mile ride. The level of dedication shown by many was inspiring.
We cycled from Ilkley through Otley to Pool, then onto Wetherby. The pace through the sunshine was leisurely with plenty of stops to snack, drink and regroup. After a toilet stop at Wetherby, we headed on to York. York Tesco appeared to have been invaded by cyclists when we stopped there for lunch! After lunch we began the return ride to Ilkley.
There’s 1 week to go now, but I’m feeling quietly confident. After the ride last week and then another 70 mile ride yesterday with one of the women I met, I’m very much looking forward 17th July.