The Yorkshire Wolds: a cycle ride to Thixendale
Yesterday's ride was filled with unexpected moments. The planned destination was Murton, but only four of us 'B' ride cyclists turned up at Cottingham Green to make the journey (although there were plenty of 'C' riders, and a gaggle of mountain bikers who set off before us). Someone suggested meeting up with the Last of the Summer Winers (a generally older but fit bunch of cyclists) at Skidby Mill so we set off. However, the four of us met two other 'B' riders who were only going to the coffee stop. Now we were six. One went off to Murton; one stayed to wait for the Summer Winers; four of us, including the coffee stoppers, set off towards Hutton Cranswick.
All fairly unremarkable, but an example of what happens when the 'B' group is made up of such small numbers. The 'C' group had a sizeable turnout, but they generally go at a slower pace for some of the 'B' group, and stay for a bit longer at the morning and lunch time stops. Or so I'm told. Once again I was the youngest rider. I'll be 45 next year.
A little under 30 miles into my ride and we arrived at Hutton Cranswick, where there is a garden centre that welcomes cyclists. I hadn't been there – I still haven't – and Liz and I left Jeffery and Dave as we set off for a longer ride. We didn't go far straight away, instead stopping at a little pond in the village for a quick snack. The pond had a lot of what I would call goldfish in it. And there was soon one less when a kingfisher darted in to the water and made off with its prey. The bird seemed to be on a wire as it left the water at such high speed on a very acute angle. It sat in the nearby tree and finished the little fish. That was a first for me.
After we had finished our grub Liz and I set off on a series of roads I don't think I had ever cycled before. I've been riding around the Yorkshire Wolds for more than 30 years but Liz put together a route that seemed to criss-cross the roads I must have used in the past. This was an unexpected journey and a thoroughly enjoyable one. Until the climb out of Thixendale after lunch.
Since my last big ride at the end of August I had only been out on two half-day rides. Normally I can cope with such a long lay-off, but yesterday I struggled as I tried to keep pace with Liz. We averaged 13.5 mph for the day, not really fast, but every little hill on the way home found me out and I watched Liz effortlessly glide away from me. A few more years and she can think about retirement, apparently. So more free time for her to get even fitter. I'd better get out more often myself...