Stage 1

Tour de Yorkshire 2016 – Stage 1

It is that time of the cycling calendar, the best race in the UK graces our fine (pothole ridden) roads and we get to watch our cycling heroes race within a bike ride from our homes.  I love the Tour de Yorkshire!

The first stage of 2016 was from Beverley to Settle, 185km long and would go though Tadcaster meaning from York there was plenty of opportunity to spectate nearby.  I decided upon Cawood – a lovely village just outside of Selby and only 10 miles to cycle.

I have been checking the weather forecast religiously all week but unfortunately the promises of 4ºC, wind and rain hadn’t altered as Friday loomed so on with the full winter kit and off I went.

My mate Farny joined me as we set off from York.  We made good time but the headwind made it tough going, for me anyway.  As we made our way from Riccall to Cawood the wind was immense.  It just didn’t let up.  The open landscape let the wind continually batter us which made it even more impressive when watching the Pro’s travelling along the same roads doing about 25mph to our 13mph!

Riding into Cawood me and Farny found a pub with a decent beer garden overlooking the bridge in the village.  It would provide a good place to watch from.  With beers in hand we waited.

Beer

First up came the rain.  It poured down.  Then came the break.  They had 4 minutes on the peloton which was great going considering they had gained that margin in a mighty headwind.

The Break

Forgive my ignorance but I have no idea who was in the break.  As I write I have still not watched the stage back.  Then came the main group (see header photo).  As always is the case when the weather is bad it’s hard to pick out individual riders but I managed to spot Pete Kennough driving Sky on at the front but it was;t until I got home and checked my photos that I spotted a few other British riders.

Russ Downing

I think this one is Russ Downing due to the beard but I may be wrong!

Sir Brad

I’m almost certain this is Sir Brad.  You can spot the black bike and the familiar nose underneath that aero helmet to keep the rain out.  It was a shame that he abandoned today without completing the stage but he says he didn’t want to risk a crash with Rio coming up.  If that was the case surely he shouldn’t have entered but then again he’ll be under massive pressure to take the start as his name alone adds kudos to the race.

And that was that.  Cold legs and body went back onto the bike and enjoyed a short tailwind before hitting a headwind for the last 7 miles back to York.  It was the hardest 30 mile ride I have ever done so I doth my cap to the riders today who completed the 115 miles to Settle.

Not going to Stage 2 but will be on Sutton Bank for Stage 3.  See you there!

Advertisements

Buttertubs Pass (The Wrong Way)

So why the wrong way?  Well I wanted to do Buttertubs and I hadn’t read 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs yet so we rode part of the 2014 Stage 1 Tour de France route – little did I know that the official 100 Climbs segment is the reverse!  Oh well, just means I’ll have to do it again.

FullSizeRender

We started off from Hawes and climbed up the modest 5-6% gradients through Simonside before the ramps got steeper.  As you can see from the above photo it is quite a big hill that we were attempting.

It’s a long old drag for a mile or so then it begins to ramp up quite severely up to the first cattle grid.  The sign says 17% from memory but my Garmin was showing 20% at parts.  There is two steep ramps on the way to the first cattle grid – the first was a struggle but doable, on the second I had to stop.

FullSizeRender 2

As you can see with my hands slumped over the bars I was struggling.  I didn’t even stop at my max HR, I had just ran our of oxygen.  I was on the limit so I admired the view for a couple of minutes and then slogged on.

It was worth it though.  Once you hit the top the descent is pretty good.  A couple of sharp corners and a few long, straight drags to get some good speed up on.

FullSizeRender 3

Overall I was expecting to stop 2-3 times so I was chuffed I only conked out once.  I expected the climb to be harder though, even at my low speeds.  I think climbing the ‘official’ way will be a lot harder so I’ll maybe leave it for a bit before attempting it again.

Here is my Garmin Verb video of the climb and descent – it’s long but if you skip to 33 mins you can see the descent.

I am delighted that I did it though and I would recommend others to tackle it too.  The long, steady climbs like this are hard to find and you feel like a GC contender slogging up them!