Rough Stuff Challenge – Monday, 26 August 2013
A few knackered and rusty old specimens were dusted off for this ride, and some of the bikes weren’t much better either! I thought my 18 year old Rockhopper would win classic steed of the day but Ian Hutchinson’s 20 year old rigid beat me to it. The rest of the machines ranged from the Howe’s full suspension rigs to a couple of cross bikes and I think it was fair to say that many of us underestimated the severity of the terrain on the route. People signed up and paid their pound in the normal fashion, some ticking the saddlebag and mudguard columns to try to gain extra points. But quite rightly Bryan was having none of it. He dismissed Dave Kirton’s feeble attempt to boost his points with his flimsy clip on mudguards that were not even within 6 inches of a tyre. Sadly this was not to be the last of Kirton’s misdemeanours.
As soon as we hit the climb from Bank Foot to Turkey Nab casualties began to accrue, many dismounted in the first half mile and the rest at some point on before the top as it was very rough in a few places. After re grouping once it had flattened off we were on our merry way heading south, some were going more south than others however and despite our best efforts to call them back they went past the left turn that took us towards Baysdale. In this party of 5 was none other than ride organiser and map distributor Dave Kirton. We waited for about 10-15 minutes thinking that once they get as far as Bloworth Crossing surely they’ll realise their error and turn back. But they didn’t, Ian Hutchinson went part of the way to a small rise to see if there was any sign of life. There wasn’t and eventually we had no option to carry on the prescribed route.
The challenges continued along rough rocky tracks and on the first descent I forgot that my bike didn’t actually have a working back brake. I had become complacent on the first part of the route which was all uphill as brakes weren’t really needed and I was close (not for the last time) to becoming a casualty.
It was a lovely warm, still and clear day and on such days the North York Moors really takes some beating, offering stunning panoramas on the tops and little pockets of seclusion in the valleys. And we had a fair few to deal with which seemed to balance out some of the strengths and weaknesses of the riders, some being better at downhills, others at the uphills. We kept together as a group though and it was a very enjoyable and sociable ride and something a bit different to a road ride.
At the end of the ride we came face to face with Turkey Nab again, this time as a descent. Those with full suspension weren’t much troubled but I and Ian Jones inched our way down both determined not to dab. Ian coped better than me and was able to carry a little more speed so didn’t lurch into every rock like I did, conscious that I couldn’t afford to carry much speed, I was also regretting my policy not to meddle with my bike after not riding it for 2 years. A brief ride up and down the road beforehand confirmed that the gears were going in and the wheels were rolling okay. It didn’t reveal play in the headset which was now starting to make things quite tricky. Soon we were clear of the rough section though and it was just a case of the traditional checking in with Mr and Mrs Bevis and then heading off to the café with John Kelly, who had wisely decided not to take his Colnago on such terrain. About half an hour later the Kirton Party turned up well outside the stated qualifying time and looking much the worse for wear. As organiser and club official he tells me that he is going to ‘pull a few strings’ to make sure he gets his certificate. An outrageous abuse of power I’m sure all fine upstanding club members would agree!
Those who completed the ride were:-
- Martin Bell
- Paul Christon
- Matty Cooper #
- Andrew Howe
- Paul Howe
- Ian Hutchinson
- Ian Jones
- Dave Kirton #
- Roger Oldroyd
- Lee O’Leary #
- Dave Roberts
- Graeme Tate #
- Ian Thompson #
- Paul Tunnicliffe
Those marked with a # have their certificates under investigation!
Officials: Bryan and Margaret Bevis
Paul Christon – August 2013