Tour of Yorkshire Day 2
The Vale of York was shrouded in mist as we lined up for the start of day 2 of the Tour of Yorkshire. But it was not raining and there was only a 50% chance of a shower later in the day. I was holding out for the 50% chance of it being dry.
After a detour for a photo opportunity outside the Minster, we headed north out of York for the North York Moors. As we hit the lanes, the pace picked up considerably until the group was stretched out in single file hanging on to the wheel in front. Whereas the peloton cruising speed was about 20 mph yesterday, it was 25 mph today. Such a high pace for the first 20 miles or so provoked considerable anxiety that the hills would see me dropping out the back, but thankfully the pace eased off when we approached them.
The big climb up to the North York Moors was up Boltby Bank. Instead of snaking around the side of the hill like climbs in the Alps or Pyrenees might do, this one went straight up the side. With gradients of 25% in places, this was the real brute of the Tour and took its toll on the group. Even some of the strongest seasoned riders got off to push. But it was so steep walking was difficult, particularly in cycling shoes. My usual style of weaving across the road to lessen the gradient was hampered by other riders and pedestrians so it was not a pleasant experience. However, I made it to the top without pulling a muscle or falling off! (This YouTube video shows that it can be done without stopping, but it’s not for the faint-hearted!)
By lunchtime, the clouds were breaking up and some hazy sunshine emerged. The humidity remained high and thunderstorms circled us, but we remained dry during the afternoon. The only obstacle on the way back to York was the Howardian Hills. The wide rolling roads near Castle Howard led to some fast descents where 40 mph was reached at one point.
The run-in to the finish was even faster than this morning’s brisk start, with speeds approaching 30 mph on the flat final few miles. This helped to push our average speed for the day up to 18mph which, for a ride of 90 miles, was rather fast for me. At the finish, though, we were greeted by a glass of champagne to celebrate our achievement. We had made it!
Thank you to everyone who has sponsored me. I’m still raising money for the NSPCC and you can still make a donation on my Virgin Money page.