“Shall I call an ambulance?”

Saturday’s adventures…

As planned we headed out to attempt three of the TdF hills. The planned route of around 80 miles, had an elevation of about 8,000 ft, but we managed 27 miles of it and just under 2,400 ft.

Despite keenly watching the changing weather forecast regularly throughout the week, and realising that it would be wet and windy, we underestimated the effect of being up north and being up a big hill. It’s cold up there, and the weather is unpredictable.

We decided on quite different kit, but that is fairly normal as I feel the cold. I decided upon bib tights, waterproof socks, jersey, arm warmers, a waterproof and my Sealskin mitts. Ollie chose a Jersey, shorts, arm warmers and fingerless gloves.

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The first 20 miles were okay. It was rainy on and off, my arm warmers were off, my raincoat was on, off, on…and Ollie was happy with his choice of kit. However, after the 20 mile point we began to struggle. Ollie’s fingers were too exposed to the headwind and driving rain which was battering us, which meant that he had to keep them warm by putting them into his mouth. I was okay kit wise but the wind was sapping my energy. But the 20 mile point coincided with the first of the three major hills, between Buckden and Hawes, which went on and on and on. Ollie was kindly either waiting for me, or racing up the hill and then coming back to get me – so that he kept warm- whilst also keeping his hands warm, one at a time.

The 20 mile point was like entering a time warp, the hill lasted forever, there was nothing; no civilisation – just moors – grass – water – sheep. I think it even got to the point where there weren’t even any sheep. And then there was snow. Not just sleet – snow. Snow and wind. Still I was okay, but Ollie’s fingers were increasingly cold and painful.We got to a steep downhill section, which frightened me so we had to get off and walk for a little way. After that though, my fingers also became cold, even though they had been wrapped up in my Sealskin mitts. I began to compare the ride to that of Boxing Day and Ride 100, in terms of miserableness. But then it got a little worse;  a passing Landrover splashed me, and I was soaked through.

 

We carried on, miserably, shivering and desperately looking for a pub to warm up in…and eventually came to the cobbled streets of Hawes. We blindly followed the streets until we came across a Coffee shop – Herriot’s – where we dumped the bikes and went straight inside to a friendly welcome. We perched on seats and ordered hot chocolates, which I downed almost in one. We pretty much immediately decided that we would terminate the ride and that one of us would get a taxi back to the camp site to pick up the car. As we sat waiting for lunch, drinking the hot chocolate Ollie’s fingers warmed up nice and quickly, but I continued to shiver uncontrollably in my wet clothes.

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Ollie and the Cafe owner, Glenn, were increasingly concerned about my inability to warm up – Glenn and his wife Liz tried to find me a hot water bottle but decided to offer me the use of one of their Bed and Breakfast rooms, so that I could have a hot shower. He gave me a walkie-talkie and instructed me not to collapse. The shower, on its hottest setting did the job, but I was back to shivering once I got out. However Liz kindly let me borrow some clothes so that I wouldn’t have to put my cold wet Lycra back on, and I spent some time under a hair-drier.

 

In the meantime, another kind couple offered Ollie a lift back to the camp-site, and Glenn ‘sold’ Ollie a room for the night – so Ollie headed off to get the car and Glenn gave me a key to a new room. The end of our camping adventure  – I didn’t even manage two nights!!

 

While Ollie was away I ate my lunch soup, chatted to some other cyclists and fully recovered.

 

We finished off our route on Sunday – so still managed to do all of the hills that we’d planned to do. Photos below…

 

Buttertubs Pass

Buttertubs Pass

Climbing Buttertubs

Climbing Buttertubs

Posing on Buttertubs

Posing on Buttertubs

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Buttertubs

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Buttertubs Pass

 

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The Silent Predator

Some of you will remember Ollie and Chris being referred to as the ‘Silent predator’ by a horse rider…

Well, up here in the North York Moors, the Pheasant silently preys on the unsuspecting cyclist! Quietly sitting in the verges and then jumping out in front of them, and as the North York moors consists solely of hills, this means that the said cyclist is either going rather fast downhill or is slowly, putting every ounce of his or her energy into getting to the summit. Either way, an unexpected pheasant hopping into one’s path, the result is likely to be fairly unpleasant.

That said though…

The Pheasants up here, really are quite stupid, or lazy. If the amount of carcasses and Pheasant shaped marks in the road isn’t enough to go by, you just have to drive up to one and watch it sit and wait until the very very last minute before it bothers to fly away.

Anyway, that’s that.

We had quite an adventure today, but I will post about that when there’s more time.

Laura

“At least you’ve got something to blog about”

Isn’t camping dreadful!
We arrived in Yorkshire yesterday afternoon and proceeded to put up Ollie’s parents large tent, before realising that we had forgotten the groundsheet and the internal compartments. So we put up the small tent inside it.

The bikes are happy because they have space ‘inside’.

However despite being in a tent within a tent, and it being about 5-9 degrees last night, it was SO cold. When PJs, a beanie hat and sleeping bag weren’t enough I brought in the ‘bike duvet’; an old duvet which is used to protect the bikes when they are inside the car. It’s covered in chain oil.
When that wasn’t enough, I wore my jacket and big fluffy gilet with hood. That was better.
Pretty restless night though; rain and gales throughout.
However, on the plus side. The food has been very nice. Pasta warmed up on the stove last night , followed by pancakes, and we have just finished breakfast of veggie sausages, eggs and beans.
  
  
And, amazingly we were able to watch a film on Netflix last night. A tent with all the mod cons and a campsite with enough bandwidth to stream a film!

Anyway, we had better go and wash up. We came up here to cycle, and despite heavy rain and gales we are still going to try and attempt 80 miles and 8000ft of climbing today.

We managed ‘Cote de Cray’ yesterday a which was 32 miles and just under 3,000ft of climbing and that was hard enough, especially with the wind. I don’t think there are any flat bits in Yorkshire.
Wish us luck. We are going to need it.
Wish the Ribble luck – it’s getting wet for the first time. Poor thing. (Slightly odd sentence since the Ribble is actually a river).

Essays, Easter and Elevation

One essay handed in last weekend, and now on to the second – and last one, for this term! It’s a difficult one; a description of the technologies which are likely to come together to create the 5G mobile standard. It’ll be a stressful few weeks, especially as I am itching to get out on my bike as much as possible.

Last weekend, despite a looming deadline, was great fun! 232.50 miles and 12,597 ft cycled. It began with a solo ride on the Thursday, followed by a wet, muddy ride on the Friday when Ollie and I cycled to Castle Coombe to see my brother in his first race (he did well!) A rest day on the Saturday (and some essay writing) was followed by a longer than expected ride, with Sarah, on the Sunday due to my complete lack of ability to judge distances. Apologies to everyone worrying about where we were 6 hours after we had left for a three hour ride! Not great preparation for the long sibling ride we had planned for the Monday – one might think! But I managed it, the legs felt good. Ollie and I cycled with our brothers – both called Chris. It was a lovely day, we had a fantastic lunch and as we cycled through Bourton-on-the-Water (normally idyllic) we really appreciated our bicycles and that fact that they could get us far far away from there!

At the start of April, without really looking in to what I was doing, I signed up to the Strava Hill Climb challenge, which challenges users to climb 9,000 metres in April. This is almost exactly the same elevation which I have climbed in Jan through to Mar; so I initially thought I had no chance – but having given it some thought I realised it was probably do-able and have been giving it a go. As of about 10th April I was at 51% complete. Given that we have a trip to Yorkshire before the end of April, I am confident that I will complete it – all good practice for the Alps!

Ollie and his brother - Chris

Ollie and his brother – Chris

My brother - Chris

My brother – Chris

Ollie and I

Ollie and I

When talking to sheep isn’t such a good idea.

Today, as I was cycling along I saw a sheep in a field and it baaa’d at me, which I assumed meant “hello” and then I saw a limp, lifeless looking lamb next to it and thought that baaa might actually have meant “help”. So as I was cycling past, I said “Hello there, is your lamb okay? Oh dear. It looks a bit dead…”

..and then I looked forward, to see where I was going, and from the corner of my eye I saw two human faces, sat with another sheep, and staring at me (assume Farmer and Vet).

I think it’s probably about time that I stopped talking to animals in fields.