Monday, 1 May 2017

1705.01 MY TOUR DE YORKSHIRE


For months now I've had the prospect of my upcoming ride in the Maserati Tour de Yorkshire Sportive in my future. It all felt like it wasn't real...

...until it was.

The Maserati Tour de Yorkshire Ride offers a unique mix of Tour de France delivery combined with Yorkshire hospitality and beauty resulting in a sportive dream day. Taking place on the 3rd and final day of the Tour de Yorkshire, this is your chance to ride many of the same roads as the pros before they do, including the pro finish line, complete with support from the waiting crowds. The location has now been announced and we're heading to Fox Valley (Sheffield)!

When I booked it I had no idea where in Yorkshire the ride was going to be, I just knew I really wanted to do it. It was just a happy coincidence that they chose to host it in my home town.

So the day arrived. It was an early start, 6:30am on the start line. That meant my day began at 4:45am, I drove to the car park designated for riders of the event (a nearby farmer's field) and from there rode to the event start at Fox Valley Shopping Centre. The start was delayed by 30 minutes but there was an MC that did his best to relieve the frustrations, including interviewing me (I obviously have one of those faces)! The weather was dry and I knew the early morning chill would soon dissipate.


Then the time came. The first climb was directly outside the start, as soon as we cleared the shopping centre it would ramp up and that climb is the one that had been playing on my mind for weeks (even though I'd practiced it). Before I knew it I was there and I was doing it and I was getting up it. It hurt, it was hard work, but my legs were fresh. Never underestimate Pea Royd Lane.

After that it was a case of getting around. There were 2 other noted climbs before we arrived back in Sheffield and the final 3 hard climbs. I was feeling good and I had a decent pace. The comradery between riders was great as we all followed the route marked out for us.

There was a feed station at around 40km of which I indulged. The climbing never stopped but with climbs comes descents which as far as I'm concerned is a near as a person can get to flying without leaving the earth. The Emily Moor climb was notable with a steep slog up to the imposing television transmission station at the peak.

The atmosphere was amazing with people on the streets cheering us on as we passed through the towns and villages of my home county. It wasn't long until I was back in familiar surroundings and approaching the finish.

The cruel twist was that as we approached within a few kilometres of the finish line there was a 20km loop to complete including some of the toughest climbs of the course since Pea Royd at the start. It was here I got into a bit of my trouble. My left leg started to cramp so I eased my pace and took on more fluids and food. It passed eventually but caused a lot of pain on the Onesmoor climb (but I wasn't the only one, I noticed many riders hitting their personal walls). Things got better as I passed through Oughtibridge and Worral. By the time I reached the final climb at Bolsterstone I had a renewed determination. I'd seen so many riders beaten by these climbs (although their success is still undiminished) and my achievements were all but behind me. I reached to summit of the final climb and all that awaited me was my reward.

I descended through Stocksbridge with a massive grin, the people cheered and that finish line approached.

The crowds cheered as I turned the corner. They were banging on the banners and cheering, I gave everything l had left and sprinted for the finish line. The finish line was the same one as the pros would cross later that day. Emotion washed over me, I'm sure I saw my family in my peripheral vision as I sped past.


We received a medal a bottle of water and some recovery powder. Then someone handed me a beer (I later found out it was alcohol free, still tasted awesome after all those kilometres). Morticia and Rags were there along with Morticia's step sister and my nephew. It was an amazing day that I can't quite express here but I can safely say that I'll be living off that feeling for some time.




I wouldn't have achieved anything without support of my family. The biggest thrill was knowing how proud they are of me, my youngest daughter presented me with a chocolate trophy.


Will I do it again next year? Watch this space...

Supplemental 1705.08:
This is not an addition I wanted to be posting. After last Sunday's ride. I learned that a rider had been hurt in a collision with a coach on Finkle Street Lane. I remember seeing the coach and thinking to myself that it wasn't in a great place. Today I learned that sadly the rider passed away. This does put a dark veil over the whole event and at this time my thoughts are with his family and friends. Chapeau.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-39849272

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