The Route That Wasn’t to Be

Today’s ride tested me, originally I had planned a 79k ride but my phone yet again used up all the battery, I’m not sure what is happening but maybe the battery is becoming worn.

I like to set goals and quite often they are massively out of my reach. Historically, I have always done this and quite often I don’t reach them. However, I love the journey in working towards those goals, the experiences, the highs and lows and knowing that you have done hour best. Does it matter whether you reach the goals that you set? I don’t think so because the knowledge and skills developed can be used on many other areas of your life. There is a part of me that feels disappointed that I don’t reach them but I make sure this disappointment is not all consuming. Today’s goal is no different.

The West and South Yorkshire Route

As you can see from the map, the start of the straight line was where my phone shut off. It has given a straight representation to the end point. This means that the data may not be a true representation of my effort. Anyway, enough with the negatives.

towards the bottom of the route is a village called Bolsterstone and this formed the foundations of this route. The village looked interesting and is situated near reservoirs.

Bolsterstone Village

The picture was taken facing the exit of the village. The Reservoir that I approached as I cycled down the main road was so lovely, unfortunately I was unable to take a photograph due to the steep descent. I did however take a photo of the landscape the the village overlooks.

What I hadn’t anticipated in creating this route was the climbs up to the village and beyond. I’ve noticed in the cycling world it’s a not necessarily accepted to stop mid climb. However, I stopped several times on the hills including the climb to the village. In total, I stopped on three climbs and on two of them I pushed my bike. Although I have ridden up what I would describe as challenging hills I had not experienced hills like these. I thought it was amazing watching other cyclists climb them with confidence and speed, it was awe inspiring.

View from part way up a steep hill

The worst was yet to come. This hill had included a switch back and progressively became steeper. This was roughly into 34k of the ride and many hills later, The top of my thighs were burning and it felt that I had no power left in them. I continued pushing my bike the rest of the way and a cyclist caught up to me. He slowed and chatted and it was amazing how he built the speed up again on the steepest part of the climb.

There are some people that are quite negative when being hindered by a cyclist but they are not worth focusing on, My experience to date, the postive interactions far outweigh those negative ones, albeit it has just been beeps from vans as they had to slow down and some close overtaking. I like to concentrate and focus on the positive and this ride had many. I encountered people that were very supportive and open for a good chat. I feel these ingredients makes for a good ride and something to think back on.

I thought at times that I was riding quickly until a woman raced passed me, again I was amazed at her speed and strength. As I got closer to her at junctions she would shout that the road was clear for me to cross, she did this on several occasions. Then, when I reached the main summit of the first part of the ride, evidenced by the look out, two men were resting. I stopped and we had a good chat before moving on. I took advantage of taking a few photos from the lookout.

On another part of the ride as I was climbing I was aware of a car behind me, the didn’t overtake immediately due to the narrow bends. However, once they had space to overtake they slowed and said, ‘It’s a tough climb this. You doing great, keep going’, then they drove off.

Overall, the ride wasn’t as long as it was planned to be but the intensity of the climbs made it more than challenging. It might be seen that I had failed due to stopping and walking up some of the climbs. My view is that I had successfully completed it, at no point did I give up and I reached the end. I ache and feel sore but coming from a sporting background I like the feeling of those aches and pains. This is because it makes me feel like I have achieved something, it also makes me feel alive and that they also serve as a reminder that I did push myself beyond my limits.

Would I ride this route again? I would love to but I think I would need to attach those climbs with fresher legs and allow my body to become accustomed to the demands required. Then, gradually lengthen the route and hopefully complete it without stopping. This is a long time off but I don’t like to shy away from a challenge.

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