On the eve of the Tour of Yorkshire
My nemesis has finally arrived. The Tour of Yorkshire. 182 miles over two days with thundery rain likely to fall at some stage over the weekend. What on earth have I let myself in for?
I’m riding to raise money for the NSPCC (you can donate here if you like!) and to prove to myself I can do it. I needed a challenge this summer to motivate me to step up the miles on the bike, and this has certainly worked.
The first big step towards this Tour was riding the route of stage 1 of Le Tour de France from Leeds to Harrogate via the Dales on 21st June. I rode the 130 miles to support my colleague Andrew Hill (now on a 3-month cycling trip around the Alps – read more about this here) who had set himself the challenge to get around the route and back to Ripon that night to sing a concert with the Ripon Choral Society. Our groupette of 4 made it in plenty of time, thankfully, and enjoyed the fantastic welcome in towns and villages around the route. The bunting, yellow bikes and Tour decorations spurred us on our way, just as it did the pros a couple of weeks later.
The second step was riding the Ripon Revolution the following week as a birthday present to myself! This 105 mile sportive was an absolute killer. It packed in two steep climbs early on which my smallest gear ratio of 39×24 (more appropriate for gentle hills than 1 in 5 brutes) couldn’t manage. I really struggled up the two steepest climbs, having to stop on the second to allow the lactic acid in my legs to dissipate a little. The latter part of the course was flat or rolling so as long as I could turn the pedals I was OK. I completed it in a time of 7 hours, but was just pleased to finish it. My legs were aching so much afterwards, though, that I could hardly walk.
My riding since then has been affected by sore muscles. I’ve had to take it easy and stagger my training more than I would have liked. I did make it up Boltby Bank a couple of weeks ago, though. This nasty climb up onto the North York Moors has 1 in 4 sections which even my new gear ratio of 39×30 struggled with. We’re facing this climb on Sunday in one of the two King/Queen of the Mountains climbs. I just hope that I don’t have to stop half way up again as it’s a real struggle to get going again it’s that steep.
Anyway, I best be getting off to sleep as it’s an early start tomorrow. We’re riding in seeded groups and I’m due to set off at 8.30 am. I’m going to be using the live feed feature on my Garmin for the first time so that anyone interested can follow my progress around the route. It’s linked to my twitter feed and facebook page – just click on the most recent link which gets posted there and it should take you to a Garmin Connect page showing my progress around the route. If it doesn’t work, then I’ve either lost a phone signal or the rain has got into my phone!
If you’re missing the social work blogs, they’ll return after this fundraising weekend!