Last Friday was the Rock at the Castle event, at Clitheroe Castle. I was asked to bring my bike and say a few words at the first interval, after Waltz Invention had played. It’s a great venue with a proper old fashioned bandstand facing a natural ampitheatre, and despite the damp weather there was a good turnout. After my stage appearance (!) Big Al Taylor and I got on with selling raffle tickets – we worked up quite a sweat and ran out, having to send a runner (well, former Mayor Mary Robinson actually ma’am) to get some more!
The event was a great success, with performances from Blues Dudes and then Freebird – I hadn’t realised the bass guitarist was my old next door neighbour Derek! It was also a financial success, and although I haven’t got the final figures, Cancer Research UK will benefit from another several hundred pounds!
You may remember I did the Action Medical Research Cross Pennine 100 mile sportive a couple of weeks ago. I thought it was so well organised it would be worth doing their York 100 event last Sunday.
320 riders did the 100 mile route, starting from the excellent facilities of York University. I set off in the 3rd or 4th bunch and decided to go out quickly to see how long it would take to tire out! So I got on the wheels of a couple from Harrogate and did the first 8 or 9 miles at over 20 mph, then, after being dropped on the first hill of any consequence, kept up the momentum and enjoyed overtaking people for a while.
The foodstops, facilities, in fact the whole organisation, were excellent. The first stop was at Thixendale Village Hall – much of the route was in the Yorkshire Wolds and the descent to the village is particularly scenic. After a further 25 miles lunch (still only 10.45) was at Burton Fleming, no more than five miles from the route coastal route near Bridlington that I took on my Round Britain Cycle. Son Mark’s best man Mr Chris Toop caught me up about five miles before the stop and we rode those five miles together.
From the halfway stop the route was all into headwind, back towards the Wolds and then, from Coneythorpe and Castle Howard, the undulating Howardian Hills through Malton. Overall it was a lot hillier than I expected (3,700ft in 103 miles). I finished in 7h 39m 22s, first time ever in the top half at 142nd. A superb event once again – AMR do about the best job I know of organising sportives.
At the finish I was talking to another rider and mentioned I was from Clitheroe. He said "You're the second person I've seen from Clitheroe today – an old bloke wearing a Clitheroe jacket came past me this morning, going like a train!" I knew there was no-one else there from Clitheroe so that must have been me. Talk about getting an insult and a compliment in the same sentence!!
I also had another free massage. It turned out that my masseuse, Libby, was born and brought up in Clitheroe and went to the Girls’ Grammar School. She lived on Green Drive which is about 300 metres as the crow flies from where I was brought up! Small world indeed!
Action Medical Research’s next local sportive is the Lake District 100, 25th September. It starts in Keswick with Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, and Kirkstone passes, plus the delights of Borrowdale, Buttermere, Ullswater and Windermere. They say it's 7,000 ft of ascent but the Clitheroe Cross Pennine event was that – this is actually nearer 10,000 ft. Anyone interested?