2015 was the year of the Century for me.
Well, let me clarify. I did one (and only one). I realise that opening sentence makes it sounds like I did a few.
No, one was enough for me.
But what an event it was!
Having started cycling in October 2012 and then starting on Strava mid way through 2013 I would see people do a century ride (or more) and think they were crazy! I had just started out and thought 15 miles was an achievement. This just goes to show how much progress has been made and how goals evolve.
Anyway, back to the ride…
The Ripon Revolution begins in Ripon (unsuprisingly) at the Racecourse.
The ride then meanders to Masham and along Fearby Lane up on to the top of Trappings Hill and then drops (off what feels like the edge of a cliff) to Lofthouse.
This first part of the ride felt very comfortable. I deliberately took it quite steady and tried to see whether there were any groups I could get into. Unfortunately, at this point there were no groups to be seen. People were either too fast or too slow.
Not to worry though…steady pace was required.
When unpacking and getting set-up at the car at 7am I had two split second decisions to make. The first one: Which door do I go through to get changed? And the second: Do I put on a water proof gilet?
Unfortunately, I made the wrong call when I went in to the Ladies toilet to get changed BUT I did put on the waterproof gilet.
What. An. Inspired. Decision. That. Was.
As we made our way onto the bottom of the ascent of Trappings Hill the wind got up, there was a fog and some rain. With it being so open up there I was glad of the extra protection that this provided. Going up and then down Trappings Hill was quite straightforward apart from the wind, rain and fog.
Once we dropped in to Lofthouse we had the run round the reservoirs, through the Valley to the village of Pateley Bridge and the first feed stop. I had a quick stop at the feed stop to restock on water bottles and then it was onwards up Greenhow Hill.
Greenhow is quite a fun climb out of Pateley Bridge and hits about a 16% maximum gradient. As I was ascending it there was several other riders ahead of me whom I could focus on and try and catch. I always think I climb better with someone ahead to focus on.
Mid way climbing Greenhow the most annoying thing happened…The Garmin started telling me the gradient was only 5%. Even though it was well over 10%. The rain must have affected it. I have never been more irritated when on a bike! It must have been the OCD kicking in!
When reaching the top of the hill which is around 2.5 miles in length you appear at Greenhow village and then have the descent through Duck Street and Padside until Summerbridge is eventually reached.
At Summerbridge my girlfriend was awaiting me with food and drinks! This was very much appreciated.
Little did I know that I was about to start to hit the wall for the first time. On the third climb which is up Blazefield Bank and then another left up on to the top of Dallow Moor I hit the wall.
It’s a weird feeling to describe as my legs felt sore but we were only at mile 50. However, I didn’t feel like I was about to “bonk”. This was all psychological.
The next feed station was in Grantley. I took the opportunity to stop and fill up the water bottles and have a few jelly babies! When I pulled up there was a group of other cyclists so I decided to hang on and leave with them so I could get into a group.
When we left the legs were sore but at least I had company!
The last “climb” was the ascent up to Brimham Rocks. This isn’t a steep climb by any stretch of the imagination but the wind was in our faces which made it very tricky! It was at this point I again hit the wall! Thankfully there was a group of people with me who looked like they were suffering more than me so it took my mind off my pain for a little bit.
Once we reached the top of Brimham Rocks it was all downhill or flat for the last 35 – 40 or so miles.
In this group we managed to tick off 25 miles pretty quickly and reach the 3rd and final feed station. I decided to stop and use the toilet whereas my group carried on.
It was then back to solo riding for the last 20 miles. However, there were many people around as the routes had merged again.
Although the remainder of the route was pan flat around the Vale of York, I actually found this the toughest part because there was nothing to aim/focus on but the legs!
Upon finishing the event I found that I had completed it in:
6 hours 21 mins.
I was more than happy with this time as in training the most I had ridden was about 70 miles. My longest ride previously was 85 miles so there was a bit of “Cycling in to the Unknown” with this event.
Having finally completed a century I am coming round to the idea of doing another…