Forgive the lateness of this blog it’s almost a week since my last big ride but it’s still worthy of mentioning. I had suggested a Penrith to Alston ride to my Sage C2C colleagues in order to suss out the last 22 miles of the C2C route that we would ride on the Saturday. I figured this would be the toughest bit of the ride so knowing the route and how to pace myself would give me a lift during the 2 day ride. Others agreed it would be a very good idea although a few people dropped out at the last minute so just 4 of us did this ride.
Myself and JP set off from Manchester before 7am on Saturday and met a couple of the Sage Newcastle riders just outside Penrith. The weather wasn’t too bad considering the rain we had endured through the week but it was a bit blowy. It was great to have some company on a weekend ride although I had to severely compromise my preferred pace to suit others. I rode my commuter Trek whereas the other 3 had good mountain bikes. JP, like myself, has done the majority of his riding over the last couple of years between home and the office and we both have the same attitude to riding. The 2 Newcastle guys were clearly weekend warriors of the off road type and their outlook was much different to ours. On the flat or on slight climbs they were happy to use all their lower gears and patiently pootle at 8mph or less. I would have been more comfortable doing double that, and when we hit a hill my gearing was such that in the lowest gear I still had to ride 5mph to remain stable, whereas their ratios enabled them to do almost half that speed.
As a result we ran out of time and only climbed to the Hartside Cafe. I was wanting to do the next climb along the route which would have added 12 miles onto the ride but in the end we only did just over 30 miles in about 4 hours. This was a shame as we had done a 150 mile round trip in the car to enable the ride but no matter, the company had been good and I had heard ‘interesting’ tales of former colleagues from the Manufacuring support team and found out all about the Sage (Newcastle) Cycle Club which is about to be launched. They have plans (and funding it seems!) to travel down to the Manchester Velodrome so I can sense a Manchester vs Newcastle track competition looming.
Having followed the C2C route from Penrith to the Hartside Cafe (the highest cafe in England don’t you know!) we took a direct route back along the A686. I say direct but it was far from straight with a few hairpin bends thrown in. Suddenly the two Geordie MTBers came alive and Mike clocked over 46mph on the decent – I over took them both but only managed a max of 43 mph (and I had smooth rather than nobbly tyres). So the Hartside climb is nothing to fear, there were strong winds that buffetted you and pushed against you, but equally as you turned a hairpin that harsh wind could be used to push you up a hill.
http://www.runfinder.co.uk/?r=117559 (The satelite view of this route is quite effective)
Tomorrow I pick up the mountain bike I will ride the C2C on, so I’ll soon find out how much more effort it takes to drive the fat tyres of a MTB along the road. The front suspension will be most welcome though. I’ve bought the bike through Sage’s Cycle to Work scheme and have had to wait 5 weeks from ordering the bike to having a voucher to enable its purchase. This has heightened the excitement of me picking it up in a waiting-for-Christmas-day-morning kind of way. Apparently this is bike number 127 that Sage employees have bought through the scheme, sadly there are only 6 riders in Manchester and despite my efforts it doesn’t look like increasing much.
A very generous donation has taken me to £100 on my Just Giving site, I will start plugging my ride and the fundrasing in ernest over the weekend.
I would like to dedicate the Hartside ride to Jade Goody. I was never a fan of hers and was more disappointed with us as a country that she was allowed to become a celebrity for just saying daft rubbish in the BB house rather than having any talent. This wasn’t her fault obviously, and who could blame her for maximising the opportunity for fame. I admit I was cynical when her first test results were announced as she was on the Indian BB show at the time, but then so much of her life was spent in the public eye that I shouldn’t have been suprised. I admire the way she carried herself to the end and I think she has done more to raise awareness of cervical cancer amongst a demographic who assume they are indestructable than anyone possibly could have done. RIP Jade and God bless your little boys.