August 21, 2013, by David Greenaway
The VC’s Life Cycle 3 Blog: Day 2 – York to Slaley
Why is York so difficult to find a way out of?
We stayed there on our ‘Way of the Roses’ training run and got lost. Today, within minutes of leaving our accommodation in one of the Halls at York University, there was a Garmin disagreement between Steve and Stefano. In the meantime a group led by Andy had gone in another direction. We all got lost and ended up as a seven, three, one formation (a bit like Man City I suppose).
Eventually Nick, Stefano and I decided on the direct route to catch the others, so headed for the A19 to Thirsk and from there on to Northallerton for our first feed. The upside is it was a fast road; the downside, it had a horrible surface. So we arrived at Northallerton with us and our bikes well and truly shaken.
Northallerton is a lovely town at the north end of the Vale of York. We met the others at Caffè Nero on the main street. I am a fan of their coffee; I discovered here they also do great porridge.
Chris, Andy, Karen, Kate, Steve, Neville, Penelope and Marion were pretty well done by the time we arrived, and set off ahead of us. From Northallerton we headed north, skirting Darlington and into the Tees valley.
For some reason the second rendezvous had been set for Esquires Café in Bishop Auckland. That turned out to be in the middle of a shopping centre! After some messing around most of us ended up at the Castle Bar and Café to charge up on pasta and baked potatoes. Nick and Andy made a better call and found The Hut, which was just that. Not only did they get good food (and fast), when Caryl and Paul the owners learned what they were doing, they refused to charge them for the food and made a donation.
We knew from the elevation charts that the final 30 miles to Slaley had some serious climbs. It would have been a really tough stretch at the start of the day, but with 65 miles already behind us, it was punishing. The landscapes were beautiful, especially on the high ground, but I was so focused on grinding out the miles I didn’t take much in.
Andy, Nick and Chris had all made a different call on the route from Bishop Auckland and were in much earlier. Andy was first and reclaims the yellow jersey, so well done Andy.
Steve, Kate, Marion, Penelope, Karen and me did not arrive at the hotel until almost 1900, having left York not much later than 0800. Not only does that minimise recovery time, it also reduces the time available to the Support Team to get the bikes ready for the next day, and eats in to washing time, let alone blog writing time. It was a tough day.
But, enough of the grim stuff, on to team matters.
There has been a bit of a backlash from some of the dastardly deed award winners, who think they were hard done by. Some are even threatening an anti-blog. That’s appreciation for you!
I have to report our first misdemeanours. In Bishop Auckland I passed through a traffic crossing on amber; Stefano followed on deep amber; and Steve followed him. Circumstantial evidence pointed clearly to a red light jump. Steve not only denied this, but tried to mount a trumped up counter claim against me! Then Nick reported that Steve had jumped a red light the day before! So the matter was resolved. Steve’s only defence was ‘I am colour blind’. Well Steve chairs our Audit Committee which regularly scrutinises RAG reviews and he does not seem to have any problems with them. I leave it to Paul to sort out an appropriate addition to his bike.
No punctures today, so Karen gets the pink bell from her puncture yesterday. One fall, yours truly when taking evasive action from another rider on my shoulder.
Team of the day goes to Simon, Paul, Sebastian and Ian. It was an even longer day for them and they were always ahead of the game and kept us well supplied.
Quote of the day goes to Marion. Karen asked her ‘Have you read David’s blog’. Her response, ‘Oh, is it any good then?’ Thanks Marion, I will try harder.
Accomplishment of the day should go to the final group in: Steve, Karen, Kate, Marion, Penelope and me. None of us have cycled 95 miles before.
Mystery of the day, my favourite Forest shirt has disappeared. It could be retribution from one of the disaffected, or it could be we have a closet Forest fan. I am confident Paul will track down the culprit.
So, day two complete, that’s 183 miles in the first two days, 13 miles longer than ‘The Way of the Roses’. We knew it would be a tough start and it has been. Day 3 is another 90 miles plus and a lot more climbing.
Professor David Greenaway
I can testify that you all looked ‘done for’ on arrival at Slaley yesterday. I really admire everyone’s capacity to joke and smile after such a gruelling day. Everyone, fresh as daisies, set off this morning knowing that they have the same to do again today. Well done all of you and keep smiling!
Wow! Well done all of you – It’s a really tough challenge you’ve undertaken. Great that there are the encounters with good folk like Caryl and Paul at The Hut to give a boost to the cause along the way.
Well done everyone for making it through a really tough second day. You’re doing brilliantly. We are very proud of you all. In keeping with previous years, I am regularly checking the download charts for an appropriate LC3 anthem but, strangely enough, Greenaway isn’t a name that appears in many song titles! We were definitely very lucky with ‘Moves Like Jagger’ for LC1! On my way to work this morning, I heard the No 2 song by AVIC II (a sort-of University connection) which immediately made me think of Penelope and specifically her LC2 reputation for power napping. So, for now, my suggestion is ‘Wake Me Up’ by AVIC II. The full lyrics are ‘wake me up when it’s all over’ so a few more gruelling days and those words might have greater resonance!
Well done everyone and congratulations to the team of six who covered their first 95 miles ever. A great accomplishment, particularly conquering challenging climbs in the last 30 miles. How kind of Caryl and Paul at The Hut to donate! Good luck with the hills today.
Well done but I am sure that even if you were colour blind you would know that the top light at the traffic lights is always for stopping regardless of colour. I think the colourblindness is a poor excuse unless you were somehow cycling upside down when order of lights would have been confusing. This would be possible with wheels attached to helmets. My mum thinks helmet wheels should be awarded to the next offender.
Thanks for the blog, it is entertaining us in Costa while we consider the fact you have cycled further than the North East already and that feels like a long way in the car!!!! Perhaps next time we go up to visit family I should suggest we ride to help pass the time and avoid backseat arguments.
Great stuff – keep going. Sounds like it was a tough day for everyone, but here’s hoping the weather holds and you’re enjoying the Northumberland scenery and steering clear of the worst of the hills!
As a measure of just how tough these 90+ mile days are, it looks from the photo above that the ladies are not even allowed to go for a wee en route..
So a more social day for you than Day 1, David, for which the theme could have been “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Rider” (in keeping a tenuous link to Nottingham heritage and culture at the start of the ride!). Sorry to hear you fell but I’m not surprised given you had another rider on your shoulder – can’t they get their own bikes?? Seriously, though, all the very best for the days ahead. By the way, City play 1-3-7 – just ask Newcastle! 😉
Come va Stefano? Mi hanno detto che stai mangiando tanto pasta – ci vuole for volare come te, no?
Wow what a start to the trip! And another 90 tomorrow, there’s nothing like raising the bar! We’ll done everyone. Fingers crossed the sun shines and the wind is kind for another big day. Perhaps the reformed traffic light maverick Mr Wylie should be employed as team traffic management coordinator with his mobile helmet mounted red light camera. All the best and keep going. Stuart
Wow, what an achievement already! Keep going, think of the snarlers waiting on the last day! We are all so very proud!
I am enjoying the blog and wish you well for your continued excellent, inspirational and arduous adventures. I found these quotes which resonated with what I have read of your trip so far!
Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.
~H.G. Wells, novelist
Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.
~Charles Schultz, creator of the Peanuts cartoon strip.