GHS ride: 102 in 8.5, April 2012

In between Francis's first 100-mile bike ride and a much shorter ride with the Cottingham Road Club I squeezed in my second century ride of the year on April 15th. The GHS rides, promoted by the Yorkshire Cycling Federation, are held annually as close as possible to the birthday of George Herbert Stancer. The man himself died half a century ago, but these rides continue to be held in his name, as does an individual 10-mile time trial for juveniles. Stancer was born in Pocklington, the fitting place of our first coffee stop, as it was for many cyclists from all over Yorkshire that day.

Burnby Hall Gardens

Burnby Hall Gardens cafe

I arrived at the start with a few minutes to spare, signed my name and set off with neither a route sheet nor my card for signatures and rubber stamps at the checkpoints. I had the route from last year in my GPS and I have an honest face so that was okay then. We rode in to a strong headwind and I eventually took my turn at the front for the last few miles to Pocklington. A snack of Yorkshire Cream Tea and we were away again. The route crosses the grain of the Howardian Hills and I fell off the back of the bunch as we climbed Terrington bank. I caught up just outside Hovingham after one of our number punctured. Another rest and a piece of flapjack. Going back through the estate roads for Castle Howard is along the lumpy road that anyone who enjoyed ITV's Brideshead Revisited will remember fondly. The roads do sap the energy, however, and we were strung out even with the wind at our backs. I began to fade, and I wasn't the only one.

By the time I'd got to Leavening I could barely turn the pedals. The climb out towards Thixendale is seldom pleasurable, but on this day it was painful. So much so that I didn't really enjoy the three-mile descent to the cafe in Thixendale's Vilage Hall. I caught up with the rest – some came in behind me – and decided to remove my leg warmers (the latest purchase) and overshoes. Needless to say the sun went in almost immediately and I felt a chill for the next ten miles or so.

Thixendale Village Hall

Thixendale Village Hall

I struggled to stay on the back on the Huggate road and eventually gave up the pace and went at my own. I was dropped at North Dalton, but by Holme on the Wolds I was feeling stronger and eventually caught two other riders – in Etton – who were not having a good day either. We finished the ride together after I shared a bit of flapjack.

On this windy day I finished the ride ten minutes slower than last year (albeit an hour within the limit), but 12 minutes instead of 40 behind the earliest finishers.

I'm still struggling on hills, though 🙁

8 comments on “GHS ride: 102 in 8.5, April 2012”

  1. Hilary wrote:

    For a man who has been under the weather for a while 2 Century rides by the middle of April is impressive! Actually its just impressive full stop!

  2. Chris wrote:

    LOL. Well, I'm on course for my ten centuries in 2012, but I think I'll be doing the 100km ride rather than the 100 mile version of the Big G sportive in July. I just don't feel that I can keep up a good enough speed over the longer distance. So I might have to find another long ride from somewhere. We'll see... 🙂

  3. Kern wrote:

    Chris wrote

    I think I'll be doing the 100km ride rather than the 100 mile version

    You've gotta love metric 🙂 .

  4. Chris wrote:

    Except that those centuries, er, don't count, Kern 🙂

  5. Patrick wrote:

    Chris wrote: I might have to find another long ride from somewhere.

    Don't forget Chris... some time this year you and me are doing a retake of the West Yorkshire ride 😉

    Well done with 100 miles.

  6. Mary wrote:

    YEs, agree with everyone else, well bloomin done, its very early in the season and 100miles is a long way, much longer when its cold than on a nice warm toasty day too.

    Im wiht Kern, 100km's 🙂 (even if they dont count).

    Im not sure (I could be really wrong here), that you get much hill practice Chris? I dont remember it hilly in the land of Wolds. I can do hill work all day long, but I cant get the longer distances in my muscle memory banks sadly anymore 🙁

    10 centuries! 1000 miles at speed.... thats impressive and worthy of some cake me thinks....

  7. francis wrote:

    You SHARED flapjack?! You're not a true yorkshireman

  8. Chris wrote:

    I did share the flapjack, it's true. I reckon that t'other Chris – who I gave it to – was a bit fatigued after all those imaginary hills 🙂

    Mary, I do have to go a few miles to get to the hills, and that's often why the rides are necessarily so long. In fact, I noticed today that just one of the climbs in the Wolds has made it in to Simon Warren's follow up to 100 Greatest Climbs. 'Hanging Grimston' is part of the 100-mile route on the Big G Cyclosportive that takes place next month (although it only rated as 4/10 in the Warren's book). And here's a link to a review of last year's ride, that mentions some of the inclines: [link since removed]

    The Yorkshire Wolds does have some hills... I'm not making it up 😕

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