(On this day in 2016 I organised a series of Challenge Rides. Here is Graeme Holdsworth’s ride report on the 200km event. His report was originally published an a now deleted web site.)
Ignorance is bliss – but perhaps the warning signs were there on the start line. There was a 75% DNS (Did Not Start) rate on the longest of the four CTC Challenge Rides which meant I’d be doing this 200km route alone.
The East Yorkshire CTC run a series of Challenge Rides: 70km, 130km and 170km. This year, however, the organiser (Chris) had added a 200km route which could be ridden as an entry level Randonneur event. New rules from Audax UK allow for routes which can be both planned and validated by GPS devices. Traditionally, Randonneur events [Audax in the UK], are ‘allure libre’; meaning you can take any route you like between control points. I like this approach but if you want a more convoluted route it can be difficult finding appropriate controls. The “Mandatory DIY by GPS” rule meant that I could take Chris’ route and submit it as my DIY 200km Audax.
My ride had actually started by leaving Welton and climbing Welton Wold to reach Cottingham, it was promising to be a beautiful day for this 210km route. In Cottingham I met other riders who’d travelled from as far as Harrogate to take part, and everyone turning up early in the morning was given a warm welcome by Chris and treated to some delicious coffee he’d prepared for us the evening before.
Although I was the only 200km rider on the start line, there was a good turnout for the 170km route and Chris set us off together at 8am. In the enthusiasm of group riding we did set off at a cracking speed, keeping the pressure on over the first early climbs through Little Weighton to High Hunsley. There was great communication in the group, pointing out surface hazards and calling out junctions. We took a sharp right on a steep downhill into North Newbald and stretched out a little on the climb of Newbald Wold. The views opened out before us and we had a brief respite rolling along fast together towards Etton and into South Dalton.
I was beginning to think about dropping off the back of the group now as I had an extra 40km to ride and some locally infamous hills to experience. These riders were all strong, but when *the fairy who shall not be named* deflated Richard’s rear tyre we all pulled up to wait. I made my apologies – they were on a different ride to me – and I just carried on. I had a feeling they’d be passing me before long anyway.