What a day !!
Got a message from my friend ‘Ginner’ saying,
‘there’s a little sportive 8th may in Selby 45 miles pan crack flat might be good for you distance wise google Selby bike ride’
Me; where do I sign on and I can’t see a start time?
Ginner; You can sign on day, Start 10am and no cut off time
Me; So would Monday be ok to finish?
Ginner; You’ll p*ss it love it’s as flat as a pancake
Me; Have you seen my cooking?!
…And so began my first sportive.
Give it a go You never know!
I say yes to most things and worry about what I have let myself in for later. It wasn’t the miles that worried me cos if Ginner said the course was flat, it was flat, so that didn’t worry me either.
What DID worry me was how long it would take me. In the past I have given up on so many rides, c2c, Hadrian’s wall, etc. I give up so easily. I huff and puff for a bit and think ‘that’s it, had enough’ and climb in the van. Not anymore if I can help it!
Someone has to be last, I don’t mind that, though I did hope it wouldn’t be me. ‘The vision that was planted in my brain’ (Simon & Garfunkel song) was as I rode over the finish line, the advertising banners would already have been removed, the massage table packed up and put away and the refreshment tent gone. All that would be left was the poor guy who had drawn the short straw and had to wait for the last rider home to tick them off the list before he could go and enjoy his Sunday lunch (or by my time his Sunday Supper!).
Speaking with Seppe and Jay before setting off to the start, Seppe asked if anyone else was riding it with me … about another few hundred people?! He meant any of our cycling buddies. I told him Ginner was but I would only see him at the start (for a big unit Ginner can’t half shift it!). Jay said Ginner would ride with me. Me; ‘he won’t want to ride with me I’m too slow and will be out all day!’ Jay; I’m sure he will….
…And sure enough Ginner rode with me all the way. I’m so used to Jay flying off to chase his Strava times that I didn’t think for one moment that Ginner would want to ride with me at my pace. Ginner’s reply; ‘I wouldn’t have asked you to come if I wasn’t going to ride with you’. It might seem soft or pathetic but you don’t know how much that meant to me that he was doing the ride for me, with me, to help me improve and achieve more.
It’s the little things
Not just in cycling but in life, little things mean a lot. A helping hand, a little advice, a kind word, patience. A lot of the attributes I don’t have, I’m too short tempered, too selfish, too impatient. I have wonderful family and friends around me and I find myself watching and listening to them more intensely these days in an effort to better myself. Maybe it’s that ‘time in my life’, that ‘now or never time’ to make good and make my life worthwhile?
I started the year in a very contemplative frame of mind and I am still of that mind. That’s how my year of fitness came about. Looking back at my life I can’t see any real achievements, something that I can say well that was worth being here for.
I was given health and I wrecked it, I was given opportunity and I’ve wasted it, I was given friendship and lost it. Stubborn pig headedness is NOT an attribute you want to wear as a badge of honour but it appears to be one of the negative things I’m good at.
In my year of fitness, it is not only my body I am trying to resurrect but a positive attitude to life and everyone in my life.
(crikey, sorry but I got a little serious there, deep contemplative mood today perhaps)
Back to The Day
As I drove closer to Barlby I saw more and more cyclist on their way to the start/finish which was at Barlby High School. There were all manner of people. Young, old, fit, not so fit but everyone was there for the same reasons…. Their love of cycling and helping others.
I pulled onto the school playing field, guided by the helpful marshals and parked. I sat there for a few moments thinking ‘blimey, look at all these people, look at all these bikes’! I didn’t really know what to expect before arriving … a few people, a bit of activity but blimey … there were hundreds!!
I got my bike down off the rear bike rack, attached my drinks bottles, changed into my cycling shoes, applied my factor 50+ sunblock, put my helmet on and rang Ginner. He had already arrived and being ‘ginger’ was in desperate need of 50+ sunblock!
It’s a first for me
I signed in, handed over my £5.00 entry fee and walked away proudly holding my very first cycling sportive ride number, number 949. Ginner pinned it to my back, checked I had all my food and liquids then rolled over to the start.
(Bike in picture above NOT mine, i wish!)
It was a gentle mass start, no timings apart from your own such as Strava or Garmin. For the first couple of miles it was very steady as the route goes through Selby with its numerous sets of traffic lights and level crossing. As the ride progressed the riders thinned enabling you to get into your own rhythm.
Before setting of Jay had advised me to keep a steady pace at 12mph but I felt good (perhaps a little adrenaline) so was trying for 15/16mph. The route was as Ginner had said, ‘as flat as a pancake’. The day was lovely for most but too hot and sunny for a fatty like me. I am not a lover of the sun.
There was a drink and believe it or not a ‘toilet’ stop at about 15miles. The kind people of a local carpet firm (forgot to make a note of their name) opened their doors to everyone for the day and very grateful we all were too, especially the toilet bit (saves nettling your bum).
I felt ok even though a little frustrated with my trusty steed who, after having a brake overhaul at JB’s Bike Shop in Ossett owned and run by the ever helpful Rob was still in need of some attention. The gears were slipping and had already been adjusted within an inch of their life. I had even ‘cleaned’ 12 years of grime of them and they still wouldn’t play nicely. Rob had told me that I need a new cassette and chain, well they had been on the bike since buying it in about 2004! JB’s Bike Shop Facebook
Anyway on we went. It was a beautiful course. Mainly fairly quiet lanes, trees, country side and good company. Lovely.
It would have been about the 30mile mark that I started to ‘feel it’. Ginner knew the course and we were shortly going to be riding into a light headwind…. And bless the guy, I tucked in behind him and had a bit of rest bite for a few miles. It really is amazing how protected you are riding behind someone.
Ginner warned me to drop the pace down a bit but I kept wanting to push (still worried about coming in last). I was supposed to be aiming for a pace of 12mph but we had been doing over that since getting out of Selby. Did I listen to him ….NO …. Meaning I was struggling towards the end.
Think it was around the 30mile mark where I had to do a ‘little adjustment’ to my under carriage. Not that it was chaffing just more pressure ache from sitting in same position for so long and not being used to it. My back had started to be a bit painful so I dismounted, adjusted the under carriage, stretched out back and legs and got back on.
I was annoyed with myself after about another 5 miles where I had to stop again because my back and now both my feet where feeling a little numb. Dismount again, stretch, shake, onward.
Rollocks … what don’t you want to hear 2 miles from home? …….. Jo you got a puncture!!! Blood rollocks!! After my stop at 35 miles, that was it, I needed to get to finish, rollocks!! Bloody flat!!
2 miles! … that’s all we had left to do, 2 blinking miles!!! I didn’t want to hold us up any more by changing the inner tube so Ginner with air canister in hand inflated me (tyre) and off again. I could feel the tyre going down again as the back end started to slide about. … just keep going, just keep going, faster, your nearly there….
Ginner shouting from behind to pull up as soon as … we were at a roundabout so I think, round the bout then pull up…. Blinking Nora!!! That was scary!! Tight roundabout, narrow lanes, kick up as we get on to the roundabout, caravan next to me and my back end sliding all over! Have you ever tried riding a roundabout with a flat back end? Well don’t it was ‘pap your pants time’!
Stopped, inflated tyre (2nd canister) and off again but I hadn’t gone far before I heard, ‘pull over love and I’ll bang some more air in, I got one canister left’, I couldn’t reply other than to shack my head, I wasn’t stopping again and using Ginners last canister….
…plus that fact that over all my huffing and puffing and self-encouraging words of ‘come on fatty keep pushing’ I could hear Ginner ‘keep going Jo you nearly there, think how you feel when they put the medal round your neck’ …….. A MEDAL !! … no one said I would get a medal ……. Take me home daddy ……………… lead me to the finish!!!!!
We turned into the school grounds with me shouting to Ginner ‘those gates there I will count as the finish’ .. Ginner reply… ‘you got to get your medal to finish’. Blinking heck is there no end to my suffering!!
We did it! Yes I welded up! Yes I was chuffed! Yes I would definitely do it again!
Selby Lions, Sponsors & Charities
This year was the 30th Selby Bike Ride organised by Selby District Lions Club.
The event is sponsored by Selby Times, Cycle Yorkshire Selby and WLCT.
It helps a wide range of charities such as British Heart Foundation, Martin House Hospice, St. Leonards Hospice, Children’s Heart Surgery Fund and Selby Lions Local Charities.
A total of £9000.00 was raised by the event last year alone. An incredible achievement. Not only does the event help charitable organisations it helps all the participants get fit, feel good and have a rewarding day out.
The feel good factor from an event like this is priceless.
Thank you for reading and your support
Cycle Safe and where your helmet