Tuesday, 20 August 2013

118km with Otley Boys

My first spin out with Otley CC. I got to the market clock quicker than I thought. Eager beaver. 8.55am and there was me and a few others. 9.15am and there were 30 odd cyclists, all splitting off into different groups. No other women in my group unfortunately. My group had 11 and me, mixed ages, from 18 to Ken at 74, who set the pace of 23kmh for the full 110km to and from Otley.
What an amazing day cycling, possibly one of the best routes I've cycled so far. Some steep climbs alright, the Yorkshire Dales aren't flat, but nothing too awful, I didn't need to stop anyway.
Home - Otley, back of Ilkley, Bolton Abbey, beautiful run to Burnsall. We avoided all the main roads, the smaller roads we took were perfect. The buildings and landscapes we passed were unreal.
Tea and toasted tea cakes at Burnsall, not a single scone and jam was asked for and all but one guy ordered tea instead of coffee.
Another noted difference, the group locked their bikes together at the coffee/ tea stop, something I haven't seen done in Ireland - yet.
At Burnsall some of the group went home, our group dropped from 12 to just 6.
We set off to Buckden via Kettlewell where I knew my mum and dad were going to be looking round the annual Scarecrow festival.
I scanned the crowds but didn't see them. The scarecrows were creatively brilliant, I would have liked to have stopped for 5 mins, but there was cycling to be done and we ploughed on through.

At Buckden we stopped again for lunch/ coffee then headed back to Otley via another coffee stop at Bolton Abbey.
The boys were great company.
I loved their broad Yorkshire accents, their friendliness and easiness. They were very welcoming to me as a newcomer.
I'd recommend this route to everyone.
I smiled at the new club call I heard, 'Sloppeh' means you're about to cycle through some wet cow dung.
A handy call since John, the leader, cycled through some a few years ago, slipped and broke his right shoulder bone.
My first cycle out with Otley was the longest I've ever cycled - it wasn't even a sportive and I cycled nearly 120km. I cycled quite a bit slower than usual and I think that's the trick for long distances at my level of fitness.
When I left the boys in Otley I powered it home, not sure why - maybe just because I was still able and felt the need to zap every bit of energy left in me.
At a point where I'd already cycled 115km I knew there was a strava segment going along the river at Castley, crazily I decided I'd give it a go, I still had some energy - I got 4th out of 62.
The cycle today alone made bringing my bike over worthwhile, I loved every minute.

Otley Market Square Sunday morning, 8.58am.

Great to see girls at a young age out with their road bikes - Integrated shifters too!

Coffee stop, Wharfe View tea rooms Burnsall, North Yorkshire

Yorkshire cyclists don't do scones and jam - it's all Tea and toasted tea cakes. The tea cakes are much lighter and way nicer than Scones, much lighter on the stomach and easier to cycle on.

I asked for a toasted teacake in the coffee shop at Roundwood, Wicklow - she had no idea what one was, neither did any of the cycling group.

Heading on towards Grassington, North Yorkshire. John Robb pictured.

John Robb (2013 Otley kit) and Ken Hodgson (1987 Otley kit)

2nd stop - lunch time, Buckden, North Yorkshire.

Buckden, North Yorkshire.

Edit - Oct 2013, Much saddened to hear that John Robb (2nd left) died suddenly from a heart attack, only a couple of months after this trip. He was so welcoming to me as a new member and wanted to stop here specifically to show me this view, his favourite in the world he said.

John's favourite view, looking over Burnsall.

Cycling back home.

One of the guys on the group was pretty tired, so John suggested we stop for another coffee at Bolton Abbey.

Ken, Bolton Abbey, North Yorkshire.


Here's the route, I left it 'open' so anyone can download it to their garmin

If you get to Skuff Road, which overlooks Burnsall - offer up your thoughts to John and hope he's enjoying the view. Rest in Peace John.