Tuesday 8 August 2017

Way of the Roses aka War of the Roses aka C2C2C aka There and Back again

Oh man, I'm getting old. I know this because it has taken me longer to update my blog compared to when I was younger. Recovery takes longer now too. I almost forgot what I was recovering from, but let me tell you about it in this post where I will attempt to pick up from where I took off.

Monday the whatever it was, was a work and cycle back commute that started my week last week. All was great until I reached work (sounds familiar). Work wasn't the problem, but my Garmin was - it had crashed for the umpteenth time. The screen was frozen and none of the buttons would work. A new Garmin or GPS device was required I thought but they are so expensive... Not only do I want to record all data possible but I will need decent mapping on future planned events.

 Managed to push myself and swim on Tuesday. It was nice to go to the lake on a weekday as full laps (rather than half laps) could be swam. I swam 2 laps and swallowed much water. Enjoyed my swim at the time but felt a bit 'blah' after.

Awoke on Wednesday with a really sore throat. Ugh, I blamed the 'pond water', however, SJ reckons it was a bug from the kids. Whatever it was, there went my plans for a morning run. There went my plans for any more exercise.

Then Jamie and Toll rocked up on Friday evening. We had a certain C2C2C (coast to coast to coast) to complete. This was to prove we were all super hero's (as if we needed proof) and test the theory that C2C could be cycled in a day. So, without further ado we flew (drove) to Morecambe with my flu and our bikes for simple adventure. Simples.

Once in Morecambe, we headed to the sea front. This was where the obligatory photo with Eric took place. Eric, who the heck was he?
My bike for this adventure was Slinky, my 'Sunday best' if you like. I had not ridden this machine for a while and it felt great to take her out. Slinky was fitted with my dynamo light which I had not used in a while. It felt like I had gone back in time and was riding an audax event.
Slinky was also sporting a new rear light. Chris H had gotten me the lights as a birthday gift. Shame Chris couldn't be on the ride itself. Jamie had taken his heavy steel bike just to prove his super hero status and Toll took his relatively new 'do it all bike'.
After a bit of faffing, we found our way to the official start of the 'Way of the Roses' cycle route and grinned as we took selfies. We really were a special bunch. We hoped we could take further selfies in this self same spot at the conclusion of our adventure.
Every good ride starts with a wee on the beach and a trip to Aldi (or similar) for supplies. Bottles filled. Snacks packed. Away we went.
Did I mention my funky rear lights? Well, they shone the full 30k or so to our first stop. We had cycled along 10k of Roman like road and a further 20k of undulating tarmac before we figured it was time for a kip. We tried to find an accommodating Church without success. The new builds were closed. Then, wham bam, we found the perfect shelter spot for the night. A covered shelter on nice green pasture near a tranquil stream.
We set up camp and soon slept. I was last to drop off - confirmed by the heavy snores of my chums. Got a little chilly in the night, however, I was mostly alright. Poor Toll had no sleeping mat. Must have awoke about 5 hours later feeling fresh and ready for further adventure.
We awoke early and set off in search of breakfast. Breakfast was a long way away. No bother we had lovely scenery and were in awe of God's creation for many miles.
We passed through funny place names, including Gigglewick. We giggled here and chuckled once we were in a place called Settle too. Settle had 100 or so pot heads to spot (see photo below). Have cycled through villages with scarecrows before but pot heads was new to me.
Lots of lovely road and mighty fine weather. Ascents, descents and flats. Ah, and then breakfast!
Breakfast was definitely worth waiting for. The best fry up, possibly ever. Amazing!
Suitably fuelled we set off and cycled lots and lots of road. Toll was most often a pink dot in front of me. I think he must have taken EPO or something, he was on fire the whole duration.
Jamie was most often a blue dot behind, ha! He was cycling such a heavy bike. 'Yeah, but, it's got disc brakes'. Oh yeah, it had disc brakes.
Does Toll look good in pink? Yes, I think he does. At least I can spot him a mile off.
Can you see Toll in the distance? He's the one in pink. See, told you so!
Jamie cycled alongside super gran for a while. She must have been 80 years old and cycling with full panniers. She was singing aloud until Jamie neared her and then she would laugh. Probably at his steel bike? Ha!
Whilst cycling we passed Brimham Rocks. They rocked! According to Wikipedia, Brimham Rocks are balancing rock formations on Brimham Moor in North YorkshireEngland. The rocks stand at a height of nearly 30 feet in an area owned by the National Trust[2] which is part of the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.[3]
I liked the rocks. They proved difficult to photo though because we were speeding fast in a zoomy fashion. We had climbed some real big hills earlier though and it was nice to speed along.
On route we spotted a sheep doing yoga (according to Jamie). I had heard tales that sheep on their backs could not physically right themselves up and after a period of time explode. I didn't want this sheep to explode so saved her like a good boy should.
After sheep, we encountered deer. Well, a deer park anyway. This reminded us of Windsor and our adventure with Chris. It also reminded me of home.
I wonder if you can guess why? Talking of animals - we saw birds (owls and other prey birds), rabbits, cats, hares, bats, frogs and a unicorn. Not in that order, but seen all the same.
The Deer Park was a great 'off road' section that came out of nowhere. Real pretty, and super zoomy fast. Down, down, down and out. Awesome.
The next great delight came in the fashion of dinner! We found a 'spoons pub and ate real good. I can't remember where we were but we were living it!
After lunch, we cycled some more. We cycled over a toll bridge. I took a photo of Toll on a toll bridge.
More cycled miles led to another beauty. My headspace had gone a little monkey at this point and York and Westminster became confused and muddled up. I didn't really care where I was, it looked ace!
The building below was great too. Jamie told me the monks still lived here too. We stopped a chilled out a while. Some dude was busking on a piano and so many tourists it felt like we were overseas. I drank a mint fizzy drink here (Pallegrino?) - it was filth.
As we cycled, I tried to figure where about in the UK we were. I figured we were smack bang in the middle of the UK. I wonder if I was right?
I would not have been right for long because we moved. We cycled until the sky turned grey. The grey skies were as grey as the road.
We cycled until grey turned black. Day had turned into night. We were hungry!
Wow, how d'ya like that? We found a pizza shop and promptly ordered offer 8, which was great! We had a pizza each, plus fries and a bottle of coke to share! This feed was suitable fuel to help propel us to Bridlington!
Yes indeed! Jamie, Toll and I had cycled coast to coast and completed the 'Way of the Roses'. Wahoo!
Wow! Super hero's indeed! We felt great until we noticed it was about midnight and had to get back to Morecambe again before Sunday turned into Monday. Jamie was still wanting to know 'could C2C be cycled in a day?', we figured we would sleep on it and find out!
As we slept, I thought about the great adventure we had cycled already. My buddies were super special. My bike performed well and my new Garmin worked great.
The photo above was what we woke up to. A fantastic sun rise on the sea shore. I think this was probably my best 'bivvy only' sleep spot.
We were sleeping under shelter on raised platforms. Warm, cosy and stunning views. Aces!
Bike and bivvy! How d'ya like that! I loved it!
The photo's above and below were taken about 5 a.m. This was when the sun was starting to rise and we were starting to rise and shine. Whoa, we all felt pretty fine.
Cycling 'back' was great initially but not as great as cycling 'there'. We continued to cycle nice stretches but added portions of A road menace to cut k's and speed us up. We had time against us.
Some stretches were great and quiet. This allowed me to take pictures of myself and see how much I had aged overnight. Ugh, I won't take a pic again.
The A roads allowed me to play 'spot the pink dot Toll' again. He got faster as the day rolled on. I think I started going backwards.
It wasn't all A road. No indeed. We still had off-road stretches and cycle path here and there. We even cycled some stretches we had cycled before (but in reverse obvs).
At one point, the sheep I saved made a re-appearance. He was running in a sheep marathon. Bizarre!
And then it rained. And got hilly. And rained some more. The rain never stopped. We had a brief respite in another 'spoons pub. Hmm, lovely curry and then more rain. Lots of rain. Cold, some pain, more hills. More rain. Creatures of the night came out - we saw lots of dead frogs on the road (I think that they had drowned) and bats. Lots of bats. Toll and I were discussing the likelihood of hitting a bat - we decided most unlikely, then a bat soared past Jamie and hit my chest. Bats hey! Wet roads, wet canal path, wet clothes. Wet. More k's, more rain. Then, ahh 'the flatlands'. 10k of flat like cycle way, and wahay, boom, we had hit Morecambe and cycled a C2C in a day!
Big thanks to Jamie and Toll for being so awesome and making this adventure happen. I love those guys. Big big thanks to my wife and kids for letting me go, oh I love them so. I write this a few days on, my bum is sore and most the pain is gone. It's nice to be back in the family nest and chilling out with 'my bloods' and having a rest.

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