June 29, 2016
Last weekend myself and Robert, my main support person in America, went on a little trip in order to experience a few days on the road and also to identify any issues that might arise.
The ride was a 2-day 260 mile, relatively hilly, route which started and finished in Scarborough, with Sedbergh being the midpoint.
We were up early Saturday morning at around 5am, I had forced myself to get up at 5am each day that week so my body was adjusted and I felt decent. Rob said he felt ok too but his eyes told me differently, he said it was the hay fever. We got a few photos then I set out towards Whitby, Rob planned to shower and ensure he had everything before setting off within the hour.
The first 40 miles up the East coast towards Whitby were really hilly and it wasn’t the best warm up. Rob caught me at the 20 mile mark and gave me some food and water (fuel). It was a great feeling having someone out on the road with me, it can get lonely constantly cycling 100 miles and it takes some worries off my mind (mechanics, food, safety).
“It was a great feeling having someone out on the road with me, it can get lonely constantly cycling 100 miles and it takes some worries off my mind”
I like to stop at the halfway point and get some proper grub down me, so the first challenge was to find somewhere suitable to eat (I should probably add that we were in a small hatchback, in America we will have an RV so can cook etc). We originally planned to stop at Guisborough but I was feeling good and at 45 miles, it was too early for me. I said I wanted to go nearer the 65 mile mark. We stopped at a couple more points along the route refueling, but then we had our first problem…..
#rideforthechild Team vehicle. Practice day one going decent. 40 miles left but they’re hilly! A photo posted by Shane Prendergast (@rideforthechild) on
With them behind me, I stopped to go to the toilet behind a bush but as soon as I had started I seen the Corsa shoot past! I got back on the bike and instantly knew that we might have an issue as he thought I was in front and, with him following the same roads, he wouldn’t stop until he reached me. In the end we had to resort to text, he said there was no way I could have come this far and I informed him I was behind, and to wait while I catch up.
When I caught up we had passed Guisborough and I was getting a bit hungry. I said to Rob to shoot ahead and find somewhere to eat and then wait for me by the road. The problem was there was nothing for another 30 miles, thankfully Rob was on the ball and I had plenty of snacks to keep me going. Things will be easier with the RV but I guess this taught us to plan ahead and study the route and services available along the way, be it for fuel, supplies, water etc.
Next we headed through the Yorkshire Dales and Rob got to experience some ascents and descents. I knew there was a big climb coming up but I didn’t think it would be quite as steep as it was. It was called Buttertubs Pass, just over a mile long with some significant parts at 25%. We shot down the other side reaching speeds of 40mph and then agreed Rob should go ahead to find the hotel room at Sedbergh. I had a 15 mile descent into the town and it was a good job as my legs were feeling it after that climb. I made a mental note that I would have to start tomorrow with a long climb!
Arrived at Sedbergh and just done his warm down. 125miles today so a bit shorter than expected! #robsupport A photo posted by Shane Prendergast (@rideforthechild) on
We watched the football, ate and had a couple of beers before an early night, I felt decent but I’m not too sure about Rob. He was tired and we agreed that I would get up and go at 5am and he would sleep a little more and catch me at around the 40mile mark. I guess when we’re in America our bodies will soon get used to the routines.
I set out at 5-30am and I was a little fatigued, the 15 mile climb was an even worse warm up than yesterday! I was thankful to see the back of the Yorkshire Dales, they’re really beautiful but also torturous roads for knackered cyclists.
Although I didn’t know exactly where it was, I knew I had one big climb this day, it wasn’t as big as yesterday it was still a decent size. It wasn’t until around 40 miles that I had a phone signal and found out that Rob was up and just behind me. I doubt we will be able to use mobile phones in this manner in America so it’s important we have a plan in place, with Rob stopping at intervals and me passing so that we always know where we both should be.
I passed through Masham and I had a very pleasant surprise when I was passed by swarms of riders. I had found myself in the middle of The Ripon Revolution, a sportive with 100’s of riders. This was great for a few reasons, it takes your mind off things and I could slip behind riders into their slipstream, ultimately using less energy. Not long after Rob caught up with me, gave me some fuel and we agreed to meet in the next town for lunch which was 12 miles – 45 mins or so – away. However we had forgotten one small detail, the whereabouts of this next climb.
It turns out the climb was literally 3 miles after Rob had left and it was a bloody long one! Pott Bank to the summit of Trapping hill was perhaps 5 miles long and it was tough climbing. Having eaten my remaining banana I was running on empty towards the end and unfortunately Rob had gone up the hills without thinking and headed straight to the next town. I was really struggling with the last 6 miles to the meet point, so much that I asked a rider would he slow down a notch so that I could slip behind him and conserve some energy. He very kindly obliged and even gave me half a banana, thank you if you ever read this! I guess in hindsight I should have told Rob how much climbs drain energy and I had been lax not carrying enough supplies. We agreed that in the future Rob would wait at the top and bottom of every climb to check that everything was ok.
“In hindsight I should have told Rob how much climbs drain energy”
The remaining 60 mile was relative straightforward, a few smaller climbs and then a flat 50 mile past York and finally onto the dual carriageway to Scarborough (seems a bit mental how I now class 60 miles as “relatively straightforward”). We had a few more fuel stops and then I told Rob to head back home with 22 miles remaining.
I think Rob enjoyed it but it was always going to be a little bit boring spending 8 hours in a small hatchback. When he’s got the RV – and of course in America – he will be a lot more occupied. I guess he now has a good understanding of what it will be like and we identified some issues which can easily be resolved.
It has to be said that the RV support role shouldn’t be underestimated, it’s a massive job and Rob did great. I’m massively thankful for him sacrificing his life to make this trip work and I can’t wait for our adventures! Thanks Rob!
Overall it was a good trip. From a cycling perspective they were two tough rides, 125mile/8200ft and 132mile/7000ft, I managed good speeds and, most importantly, my legs felt decent. As I previously mentioned I had got up early throughout the week to prepare myself for this weekend but it’s tough with work etc and I was really, really sleepy by Sunday – I guess I won’t have this issue in America.
Getting excited now – EIGHT weeks to go!!!!!
Practice weekend complete. A hilly 257 miles later we have arrived back in Scarborough. Blog post to follow. #rideforthechild A photo posted by Shane Prendergast (@rideforthechild) on