This was my fourth year doing this charity ride, but I’d only ever done it as a group of 4. This time bolstered by success at couch to 50k the triathlon Redditch group was 11 strong. The ride started with registration at the Myton hospice in Warwick, where the group all met up. We’d all opted for the
100k Challenge ride, and for some this would be the furthest they’d ever cycled. We gathered up, and pinned numbers on our backs and our bikes, and some people took a last minute toilet stop, we then rolled over to the start line, and after a quick briefing and photo, we were off.
The course tried to keep us off busy roads, and was mostly successful. It was well marked out, and you could also download the GPX file for your navigation device of choice. The first 22km sailed by, at which point we got to the first food stop. This however was badly named, as by the time we got there there was only 2 fruit gums left, though we did all manage to get a cup
of tea or coffee. It was that this point the Phil Walker revealed that he had brought pork pies, and proceeded to eat the first of the day. The rest of us made do with the energy bars and the like, that we’d brought along. The question on everyone’s lips was “How did Sue get such an impressive chain ring mark on her leg?”
Shortly after the food stop was the first challenge of the day, Larkstoke hill. This is the hill made famous by the 10k ‘Winter series’ runs, that are not for the faint hearted. We gathered up at the bottom of the hill, wished each other luck, then attempted to scale the mountainside! Some of the group took longer than others, some surprised themselves and cycled all the way up, and some discovered they were a bit like Mark Cavendish – could be better at hills! We gathered up at the top, pleased to have seen Rob Williams who had appeared at the top of the hill to take photos and laugh at us struggling up the hill.
After regrouping at the top we set off again on some undulating roads, following the well marked route when we came across the magic sign – Hill climb – Go right, avoid the hill climb – Go left. The outcome of the group discussion was that the people who were emulating Mark Cavendish, would avoid the hill climb, and the people channeling Chris Froome would go right. It turned out there were seven Chris Froomes taking on Saintbury hill, on which the organisers had placed timing equipment. As we got to the bottom of the hill we gathered up our energy and with varying levels of gusto, attacked the hill. Everyone who attempted it, cycled all the way, and apparently Mel even managed a smile at the strategically placed photographer, in complete contrast to last year!
According to the profile, it was all downhill to the food stop at 72km. We now know that profiles lie, especially when you’ve just cycled up two hills as fast as you can. There seemed to be more uphill than downhill, on the way down. We’d agreed for the Peloton to meet up again where the courses Hill Climb/No Hill Climb routes met, but with the issue of timing and not knowing where that point was, the groups never met up on the course again. We did manage to exchange messages via the medium of SMS, and discovered that we were less than 15 mins apart at the food stop.
The second food stop was a complete contrast to the first – Cakes almost as far as the eye could see, bananas to feed the residents of Twycross Zoo, unlimited tea and coffee and savory snacks. When we finished there was a lot less. A lot less. After the cake stop the pace was slower, however, for some of the riders, anything beyond this point was a personal record for longest ride. We got a bit strung out after this as people had varying amounts of energy and willing remaining, but the signposts didn’t let us down, and both groups were reunited at the finish line.
After the event there was a medal and water, plus a BBQ ticket. There was plenty of seating space, and refreshments and massages available. We might have made use of the ice cream stand – just for testing purposes you understand…
motley Myton crew: Phil Walker, Bill Ulyett, Rhona Ulyett, Michelle Baylis, Lily Dewhurst, Colin Garrett, Jeff Mosforth, Mel Skipp, Sue Turner and Russell Morey, with a special guest appearance from Kelly Knight