Wheel of Wakefield Sports Relief Challenge 2016
Alarm went off at 6am. First thought of the day, gosh I feel pretty nervous but why? I cycle all the time (well not ALL the time), I’ve done sections of the Wheel of Wakefield before, I pretty much know where I’m going (always getting lost).
Maybe, just maybe it’s that fact that I have told everyone I am cycling for Sport Relief and people have been kind enough to sponsor me and that I have put a finish time out there?! Well, I have to do it now, too late not to but I want to.
Laid all my clothing out the night before (organised!) That includes 20 million layers of everything! I’m a delicate soul.
Heavy duty sports bra: Ben & Jerrys cycling jersey: Wind Proof (no longer rain proof) jacket: Knickers (yes, this point will be debated in a forward blog as it’s a very ‘sore’ subject) Under shorts: Cycling shorts: Leggings: Socks, Cycling shoes…. Think that’s it. = another 10lb in weight to carry!
I enjoy cycling and the bits of ‘cycling’ stuff I own have been accumulated over the years. I don’t have funds to spend on expensive equipment or clothing so I hang on and hang on to things until they’re absolutely thread bare then look for offers on things I really need. I’m not ashamed to say I even took the sewing machine to my sloggy knickers the other day as I like cycling in these but the waist band had come away (all that trying to squeeze size 20 into size 16). I wear under shorts and cycling shorts as the padding has all but gone in both of them but together they make a not bad pair.
Anyway the challenge (if getting dressed wasn’t challenging enough!!)
BREAKFAST: Started the day the pro way; Espresso and big bowl of porridge (yes with TWO teaspoons sugar) and liberal sprinkling of cranberries. I call this my ‘Sarah Storey starter’ What an athlete this lady is, incredible cyclist. Oh and glass water.
ALLERGIES & INTOLERANCES: I am gluten, wheat and dairy intolerant which basically means you have to read every single food label OR better, make your own. (again another forward info blog) There are lots of great websites out there with special dietary recipes.
FOOD ON THE GO: I carry are my homemade Geraint Thomas Energy Bars (GT bar) so called because they’re a power house. Throw all the power you can find into it and they will never let you down, just like the great man himself. I’ll post recipe soon.
Drink, 2 bottles, one water, one CR7 energy drink
THE CHALLENGE: 38 mile WHEEL OF WAKEFIELD FOR SPORT RELIEF 2016
Seppe and Big D rode to Pugneys Country Park whilst I went to collect Chris in van. Got to Pugneys just as they opened the gates. It was a beautiful morning, crisps with a beautiful warm morning sun glinting across the water. One of those feel good mornings. Perfect for cycling.
And we’re off. The majority of the route is off road tracks with just a couple of short road sections such as at the start coming out of Pugneys. It’s a lovely route made even better if you are fit.
I had hoped to be able to take stills from my head cam but my computer is so archaic it just sits churning away so no images at mo. I will ride it again (haha) and take pictures just so I can add them to this post to try and make it interesting for you!
Reaching Anglers Country Park my lot felt the need for a sit down! We had only done 8 miles!!! I should have kept going as I am the slowest rider but I waited with them to gee them on otherwise they would have sat all day!!
Big D (Dennis) 6ft 3” and 16.5stone but the guy is pretty darn fit. He walks the hills twice a week and is a member of a walking club, just likes his food.
Seppe, naturally fit, doesn’t have time for much exercise but eats healthy and is always active.
Chris, has lost about 4 stone over past two years. Runs most days and swims once a week.
…And there’s me, wobbly lardy, shoves more in than expels out and can’t get consistency with a training regime.
Back on bikes we head to Nostell Priory or so we should!
On leaving Anglers Park the route takes you to the left around the lake but due to the rains it was a quagmire. I was the only one in cleats. I had to unclip as we were slipping and sliding all over. The bog ran the whole length of the left hand side. When I finally got out of it I had to take my shoes of and clean them of mud.
Seppe hung back for me and I followed him to what should have been Nostell Priory but was in fact the wrong way. TWO miles in the wrong way before we turned round and did another TWO miles back!! Not happy! When you are out for a potter it doesn’t matter if you go wrong that’s all part of the ride, well it is with me because I’m always getting lost. BUT I needed to be at Pugneys for 1.30pm and I was already struggling so any extra miles would only be a hindrance.
If you don’t know Nostell Priory, it is a stunning 18th century Palladian House set within landscaped gardens and parkland and run by the National Trust. A must visit when in Yorkshire.
Over Sharlston Common and Streethouse where we ride (not literally but almost) into one of our friends Jay H who’s also on Wheel of Wakefield route but going a lot faster than me!
We skirt Normanton’s town centre and through a housing estate on cycle pathways dropping down toward the canal.
The first section of canal is always very windy as it is so open. Got to Stanley Ferry and had a good break. It was a lovely sunny day which brought out plenty of walkers, cyclists, families and boats. The canal was full of boats, almost looked like there was a regatta on.
They still hand make lock gates at Stanley Ferry. It’s a beautiful sight to see when these huge gates are sat waiting to be installed into the canal system. An incredible feat of engineering.
I didn’t want to leave the comfort of the canal side bench as I knew what was in store, UP HILL for ages and ages and ages, well it would feel that way.
Obviously when you are down by the canal there is only one way to go … UP …
I was already struggling and feeling fatigued. I downed a GT bar and banana and tucked into Chris’s water that I had been carrying all the way.
Oh, by the way, we lost Chris just before Normanton. She was waiting for Seppe and I to catch up after going the wrong way but thought she would end up slowing us down as she wasn’t much of a cyclist, so she set of thinking we would catch her up, no chance. She still doesn’t understand, anyone slower than me must be walking!
With trepidation we set off from Stanley Ferry upwards. It just seems to keep going up and up, it’s such a drag. I lost track of how many times I stopped. I had to keep riding unclipped as I was afraid that I would grind to a holt and not unclip in time.
My legs just felt empty and the pressure in my head, being so unfit I overheat very quickly I thought my head would explode. I could feel my cheeks burning and proper sweat was running from every orifice. Finally, we peak at Brandy Carr….
…and what a beautiful sight met my eyes…. Cheryl!!!! Yey! Cheryl was here! We had lost Chris but again Cheryl.
Chez couldn’t join us for the whole ride, 1, she hasn’t done much training and 2 she had just step off the plane so we can excuse her for not doing the whole thing.
After a quick photo op we set off on the last 10miles of our Wheel of Wakefield Sport Relief Challenge. This last section I have ridden a few times before and I knew what to expect. Down, up, down, up, down, up or something like that. The boys had gone off in front leaving poor Chez to listen to me cough, snot, curse and spit, just like a true lady!
Thank goodness for Cheryl, she literally dragged me up every hill. You know you are spent when even flat sections feel like you are climbing.
We dropped down Gawthorpe Lane which leads up a farms track, and wouldn’t you know our luck, the farmer was machine cutting the hawthorn that ran alongside the track. And yes, poor Big D got a puncture.
Chez and I left the boys to repair the puncture knowing that at my now non-existent pace they would catch us up. It also gave me a chance to be at one with mother nature!
Eventually over an hour late we all arrived back at Pugneys, together. I wanted us all to ride in together. Everyone took on the challenge to support me, so finish together we must. Between losing our way, 4 punctures between us and 42 miles I don’t think an hour late is all that bad for this motley crew of none athletes.
We did it.
No dismount from our success… There is a little lady waiting patiently ready to do her very own Sport Relief Challenge……….. To be conintued …..
Thank you for reading and I will add some more scenic images soon. (going to have to learn to take a pic without my big head in way!)