Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Manchester to Hull

Having had a bit of a Summer break from the blog and a bit of a think about a change in the prolificacy with which I churn out material I have decided to go away from writing each and every Sunday regardless of what I have done and focus more on particular events or overviews of training segments I have been doing.  The weightloss is still going well and I anticipate that it will only be another three to four months to get to where I am going.  My goals are starting to change slightly in that I want to have a go at road racing next year and also some track crits.  This winter will be key to those aspirations and I will be changing the training to develop into a faster, fitter cyclist.

This Sunday past, however, saw another adventure on the bike.  I decided at the latter end of 2011 that I wanted to tick some trip boxes so to speak.  On the list was cycling from Manchester over to Hull.  You may ask why, I am originally from Hull and still have family over there and also there is the ‘fun’ element of the ride.  I had been glued to my weather app on the phone during the week hoping that the weather would be ok to do the trip and I reckoned the 100 miles or so would take me 7 -8 hours.  As it turns out the weather was exceptional and really added to what was going to turn out to be a really enjoyable ride.  I was up early for a 07:00 start and after some porridge and a pint of water I made my last checks to the bike and kitted up.  I had been researching the route for a few weeks and had a list of the roads I was going to use on my iPhone.  In conjunction to the maps on there the list would prove invaluable.  I headed out of Manchester on the Oldham Road and as it was a Sunday it was blissfully quiet and allowed me to tick along at a reasonable pace.  As I was unfamiliar with the way over the moors I was checking the maps app regularly.  I did manage however to get lost twice but rectified the navigational issues and carried on.  As I headed towards Uppermill there where some sharp climbs and some nice decents.  The local council had decided to close one of the roads over night so I had to detour round that up a particularly sharp climb.  Many of you will know I am not a great climber but my spirits where high and I was enjoying the peaks and troughs.  Another wrong turn saw me end up going down a really nice decent into Uppermill only to have to turn round and climb back up it to take the turn off.  Still I had a chuckle to myself and got on with it.  I turned onto Holmfirth Road which would take me over the moors and back into Gods own country Yorkshire.  Little did I realise that there would be a bit of a monster climb up to the top.  The climb itself was 1200 feet and took me nearly 25 minutes to do.  It just seemed to keep going and going.  There where two false peaks to.  Half way up the climb I heard a hissing noise from the front tyre and I had my first flint puncture.  I pulled over and changed the inner tube in rapid time for me of 15 minutes then carried on up the climb.  It was hard.  I was averaging about 7 mph and my heart rate was 170 – 178bpm all the way up.  Saying that I really enjoyed it and had a great sense of achievement at the top.  It is probably the biggest climb I have ever done. 

As I went over the top a fellow cyclist going the other way shouted “I bet you didn’t break any land speed records” I just thought you are most definitely right sir but I am at the top!  The decent into Holmsfirth was unbelievable it went on for four miles with a top speed of nearly 50mph.  I was holding back a little as I was unsure of the twists and turns but it went on for ever and was a highlight of the trip.  After reaching Holmsfirth I took a small wrong turn and headed to Barnsley.  This section was lovely country roads in nice weather and hardly any wind.  It was also nice to see a kids road cycling club out with their adult chaperones.  They must have been between 8 and 12 years old and I was very encouraged by their enthusiasm.  I cycled with them for a bit then pushed on through Barnsley up towards Pontefract.  As I headed up the country roads I could hear a distant roar of engines.  A few minutes later and I was overtaken by around thirty cars heading to a car rally up the road.  The noise was deafening and the fumes these old machines where kicking out where choking.  I headed on to a section of dual carriageway next and this gave me chance to think and to enjoy the weather.  After reaching Pontefract I stopped bought a sandwich and had fifteen minutes making a couple of calls and texts before setting off again.  The roads rolled a bit but nothing like Ireland so I was steady and happy heading towards Knottingly then onwards through to Selby.  In Selby again the council had decided to close the road I wanted to use so after a few wrong turns and curses then made my way up the A19 towards the road I needed to head to Market Weighton.  At this point I roughly knew where I was and set off down the A163 with some gusto and a feeling of home legs.  Little did I realise that the A163 was one of the longest roads ever… whether it was a mental feeling or an actual physical feature it felt like I was cycling along there for hours.  I reached Holme on Spalding Moor and stopped for an icecream and some water refills.  By now it was midday and the temperature was rising.  I had averaged around 20mps from Selby and felt good but I was hot and the suncream I had put on was having little effect.  I pushed on and reached Market Weighton which was essentially 7 miles to go.  I felt strong and went around Market Weighton and up on to the South Cave road.  That is when the wind picked up.  From nowhere the head wind became exceptionally strong.  I was struggling to maintain 11mph into it and the sun was still beating down.  After a last big push I decended into Brough and Lindsey’s house where there was a welcome bottle of water and some icepops!!

Ride stats

Distance:                     103.48 miles
Moving Time:              6hours 25minutes
Avg Speed:                 16.1mph
Top Speed:                  46.8mph
Elevation Gain:           5072 feet
Calories burned:          5007