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?

Nick and StefanoWe 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.

Caryl and Paul, The HutFor 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.

Team breakNo 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

Posted in Life Cycle 3