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The Ride25 Grand Depart Route Yorkshire – Helen, one of our Riders tells all!

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The Ride25 Grand Depart Route Yorkshire – Helen, one of our Riders tells all!

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May 9th, 2014

Last weekend, 40 Ride25 Riders completed the Yorkshire Grand Depart Tour de France route as a training exercise for the Geneva to Milan Ride25 leg in June. However, it was no mean feat… with 118 miles to cover plus some very hilly terrain, it was certainly a challenge for even the fittest and most experienced in the group.  Here is one our of Riders, Helen’s, personal account of the day…

Helen - Grand Depart Route Ride25I signed up to participate in the Ride25 Grand Depart last September when the cycling legs were still strong after a long summer of pedalling and April was very much in the future.

The months passed, the bike hibernated and the legs turned lazy with turkey and mulled wine. January came and training for the London marathon begun and the next few months were running months with barely a look in on the bike. April approached and emails began to circulate about the ride, including course profiles, routes, whispers of how horrifically hilly it would be, all of which I studiously ignored. I bought a new bike and felt pleased with myself as I watched it sit day after day in my house, all shiny and unridden. April began to be just around the corner, a matter of weeks rather than months and panic started to creep in. I knew I had the fitness to run a marathon, I was less sure about 118 miles of Yorkshire hills.

The morning arrived. It was early. The weather was grim. Sadly our fancy new Ride25 cycling tops were hidden under layers for warmth and rain protection. Off we went, up the hill out of Harrogate, the first of very many.

Ride25 Training route - Grand Depart Tour de FranceI settled in riding with (behind!) John and Dan, the perfect windbreaks since they were big and strong and speedy! We were joined by a lovely chap, Nigel, and the four of us rode for the whole day together. The first 30 miles were tough as it was wet and cold and pretty bleak. Having forgotten shoe covers my feet were soaking and numb and I wondered whether I’d ever warm up. We reached the first cafe stop, delighted to see the Ride25 flags and the support team’s smiling faces and we piled in and filled up on tea, cake and bacon sandwiches which lifted morale and energy levels, despite leaving feeling several pounds heavier.

The rain had now stopped and we soon warmed up and we were able to enjoy the scenery, happy that the route was so clearly signed since we’d been let down by 2 Garmin failures. We passed the next few hours til lunch in fairly high spirits until we reached the Buttertubs climb, which was a bit of an ordeal. But from there lunch wasn’t far and again, we were welcomed with flags, smiles and most importantly, a roaring fire where hands, feet and socks were warmed and dried. Lunch was hearty, the service was prompt and friendly, and soon we were on our way again (not before having taken advantage of our own mini support crew, Kim and Anna Mai, who brought us a complete change of clothes – life savers!!)

Ride25 Training route - Grand Depart Tour de FranceIt was a struggle to get going again and the next few miles were passed in fairly grim silence. The next long climb nearly broke me and I had a moment where I wondered whether I could finish. Thankfully, Nigel whipped out his jelly babies and saved the day! Energy levels waxed and waned over the next few hours and each hill became tougher and tougher and the gentlest inclines seemed like mountains! Eventually we started picking up signs to Harrogate and we knew we’d cracked it. We all finished in one piece with no punctures, tumbles or other incidents to speak of. It was a brilliant day: the route was fabulous, the organisation impeccable, the group jolly and I’m excited to see everyone again in June in Geneva. I’m looking forward to seeing all the photos and vids which were taken along the way (although less enthusiastic at seeing my hill climbing gurns). The only thing which remains is to say thank you to John and James and Ride25 for organising such a great event!

Here are a small selection of photos taken on the day.  To see the full gallery, click here.

We have also produced a video of the day which you can watch here.

Check out the route on STRAVA here.


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