C2C – 202 miles in 12 hours

Dave,Kevan and Leszek took on this challenge and raised £1,000 for Derrian House – this our is the story:

Having met up with Kev we both rode towards Southport Pier. Looking like we needed the exercise with Derian House T-shirts stuffed down our tops for the mandatory photo. The question in my head was “Will our late recruit Les be there?” As we passed over the bridge Kev pointed out a local feeding the swans on the lake. Then I spotted Les on the prom – early! No way! So a quick photo

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Then off down the sea front with Blackpool tower over to the far left.
Apart from a brief shower at Tarleton the weather was kind to start.
Now to log the ride and keep us on route Kev had loaded the way to go on his satnav/Garmin and part of the route was to do the Nick of Pendle climb. Knowing only one route to said climb, I got worried after passing a junction to take us there -but there is always more than one route. So the Garmin proceeded to lead us a merry dance. All turned out fine after as we got back on route. Only with the time lost it was decided to skip the Nick and head straight through Clitheroe towards Settle. As we swapped the Red Rose for White Rose the countryside rolled before us as did the clouds heavy with rain. We descended to meet the rain to find first hail. Just to make our stay longer and wetter it happen to be the only gated road of the trip. At the first gate I donned my waterproof. Ahead Kev was already at the next gate trying his best not to be hit by a fast approaching hydroplaning Les. Wet brakes and a sheet of moving water on a decline are not a good mix but Kevans Gene Kelly dance moves to get clear of Les gave us a laugh as Les skidded to a halt inches short of the gate.
l felt for Les and Kevan, being without rain capes as the cold and damp set in. Though we were all hearten to see the floodlights from the railway station and then Settle itself.
Now I don’t make a habit out of asking strangers after old naked men, but it was the weekend, when needs must and all that. We were pointed in the direction of our first café Ye Old Naked Man.
At least the rain stopped while we had our coffee and tea cakes.
Being soaked through we were only getting colder with me and Kevan shaking all eyes turned to the bike shop opposite to get Kev a cheap rain cape or base layer to get his core temperature up.
The owner had other ideas and thought it was funny,”a cheap waterproof?, there’s no such thing!” I asked if we could have some discount or do a deal but he wasn’t interested. By this point Kev had already left in search of a Better idea, go low tech with bin bags and newspaper from the local co-op.

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Now I’d pocketed a bin bag just in case but thought I’d be OK because the climb out of town was supposed to be a brut and nothing warms you up like a good hill.
With Kev bagged up and everyone sporting newspaper vests we got moving, in the wrong direction. Which was nearly my undoing as the chill set in and my jaw moving of it’s own accord but after a quick u-turn and help from the locals who were only to happy to point towards the big climb I got my wish.
A slight rise then round to the right,where you were forced out the saddle to battle your way up for longer than you want, until finally it eases leaving the hardiest work behind and you can see the the rest of the climb snaking towards the Yorkshire Dales.

Before I had time to take in the view I stopped to take some pics of Les and Kev suffering. First Les all smiles then Kevan at least having the decency to look like he was hurting.

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This was really the start of the ride for me. As we descended into the sun soaked green patchwork of the Dales spreading out before us it seamed as if we were forever going downhill. Kevan soon shed his trendy black treads and started picking up the pace.
Then just after a patch of mud in the road Les shouted, “Puncture!”.We fumbled with the tyre and Kevan took some photos of how to fix a puncture in15 minutes or more.
The tyre was definitely passed its sell by date.
Les said, “I’ve got a new tyre at home” to which he got the right reply, “No bloody good at home!”.
Off again and it wasn’t long until we were squeezing past a caravan blocking the bridge over the River Wharfe. Following the river with its beautifully manicured river bank until it turns away from the road. One minute it was nice and rolling then the road swung to the left and up into the wind to my surprise. The hard work was short lived as the road kinked left the gradient lessened. I started to grumble not at wind swept landscape but at the road we were about to join rising then dipping out of sight then ascending like a grey ribbon that would surely mean more lung busting work to come.
I needn’t have worried, as we reached the ascent it was hard but we had a good tailwind to help us along. The drop into Pateley Bridge was magnificent. Fast and swooping then into twists and turns with 14% warning signs. the top part half was great fun but unlike Kevan I got stuck behind a car as the bends got too close to risk overtaking.
Kevan was waiting on the other side of the bridge with a big grin on his face. As we chatted about what a good descent that was Les pulled up. He hadn’t liked it one bit and had took his time.
We followed High Street then took the right onto the fast rolling Ripon road. I missed the partly hidden route sign and had to double back and catch the other two up. I was soon taking my turn on the front swapping with Kevan as I thought at the time he was doing too much on the front plus I wanted the feeling the joy of riding beautiful roads.
I spotted what I believe to be a kite soaring through the air – as a child I would have known for sure but all I can say now is if it wasn’t they grow dam big pigeons in Yorkshire.
As the next café stop at Ripon drew closer we started passing other C2C’ers so we were going the right way at least. I saw a little C2C sticker pointing right but we were upon the turn so quick we missed the path through Studley Park but the way a head did get us to Ripon quicker.
Instead of a café we grabbed some food from a supermarket and sat in the sun bathed square.

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I had to smile as two young couples walked by and one of the girls went and stood beneath the slogan, “Often Licked, Never Beaten” on an ice cream van for a photo. They sure do like there ice cream around these parts, but the slogan did become the tag line for the trip.

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Then the riders we passed earlier rode by as we recuperated. We set off for York pressing through Beningborough Halls grounds where we slowed behind a driver who had his mirrors folded in (you’ve got to wonder?) Kevan lead the way into York weaving the way down hundreds of cycle paths.

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We had a quick breather outside York Minister. Then back to the cycle paths out of York.
There was a planned café stop at Stamford Bridge but we found it closed. So we decided that the local chippy was the way to go. Luckily they sold milkshakes. They were kind enough to charge Kevs Garmin too.
We were told about a very nasty climb further down the road by a local cyclist which I didn’t like the sound of. I certainly had my fingers crossed we wouldn’t be going that way. But as Kevan pointed out he couldn’t see a national cycle route putting in anything that brutal. He wished us luck and went on his way.

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On the main road out off town Kevan started waving at a car going the other way, he’d seen his wife who turn around and met us in a lay-by down the road. A quick chat and we got going again. Then we all saw it – the wall of tarmac threading it’s way skyward. My thoughts were we were all in for a lot of pain. It could be dangerous too with tired legs and fast traffic. Then Kevan called out,”there should be a right coming up well before that”. I smiled to myself, Kevan definitely didn’t want to climb that brute (Garrowby Hill).
With a feeling of cheating I turned right but also knowing I wouldn’t have made it up the hill without cramping , walking or both.
We travelled a couple of miles then turned east on a fast rolling road which I was enjoying then a “Way of the Roses” sign was spotted so left it was. Up and then down little county lanes with bends that tight we ended up down a wooded track thinking that was the only way to go. A quick u-turn and we dropped into a valley. The climb out was lovely and gentle. So much so Kevan asked,”are we climbing?”. To which Les replied,”YEAH, look behind you”. Just before the top at ramped up a bit then we were rewarded with nice flat roads.
Then with our shadows stretching out ahead we skirted Driffield.

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Taking the main road to towards journeys end. Strangely my legs now felt full of energy so I took a turn on the front till Bridlington. We got to 200 miles as we passed the town sign (all in the plan of course). Then all we had to do was meet Les’s mother and Kevans wife on the sea front.
We turned right onto the promenade and in doing so missing them both???? We stopped and Kev saved the ride on his garmin just with 0% battery left. “You’ve got to have proof” Kev said, and I believe Kev would have done it again right then! if it didn’t save it.

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After a quick phone call we turned back passed the the fun fair found Kevan’s wife and friend with Les’s mother waiting by the C2C sign.

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We’d done it for Derian House raised over £1000, and come in under 12 hours ride time too.
A big thankyou to all that donated!

We put all the donations through the Just Giving site.

After the photos I looked down on to the beach and thought I’d get a shell or two for my daughter.
There were no shells but I collected three big chalk pebbles as momento
Of the trip.

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