Hartlepool Cycling Club have had a long standing tradition of riding 100 miles in 8 hours. Early season whilst the snow is still on the ground. The ride used to start in Hartlepool, going up to Consett, left at B6278 over to Stanhope, then over Bollihope, Egglestone, Staindrop and back to Hartlepool. 7000 ft of climbing including 10 categorised climbs. For many years it had not been done and many of the old school maintained that HCC present members were not tough enough or capable of doing it ! Incoming Secretary (new school ) accepted the challenge and drummed up a team.
The team was to be , HCC members Paul Garstang, Phil Wright, Trevor Jones and Andrew Wilson (combined age of over 220 years) . Jason Lewis would join along for the first 25 mile or so . Plus two guest riders , Ian Sime and Paul Clarke would also participate. The support vehicle would be manned with John Parsons and Neil Stuart (Old School) and George Wilson popped along to see us off.
Trevor was last man at the meeting point , he had decided he was up for it having an “off “just 2 days earlier !!!
We set off at 08:10.
As arranged, Jason headed back at Consett , the remaining 6 pushed on with Trevor doing an epic descent through Castleside and missing the left hand turn onto the B6276. Paul went on to retrieve him whilst the team awaited in anticipation of the first real climb. They were not to be disappointed. Pretty soon after they were climbing out of Edmundbyers and over Skaylock hill (408 metres) and Collier Lay (516 metres) , it was decided at a point around here that we would have a cafe stop at Stanhope which proved far to early, as all the hard work was still in front of us.
Getting some coffee before tackling Unthank Hill and Bollihope
Refuelled the team set off to tackle Bollihope and it was cold, lord it was cold, there was ice and snow in abundance and if it was not hard enough , sheep dodging made it worse. The constant battering of an Easterly head wind , picking up as the afternoon wore on, made it grim too.
After 5 1/2 hours of slog we got to the other side.
Well after Hammsterley Common the ride back to Hartlepool is fairly unspectacular however the last 35 miles hurts after all that climbing.
The 4 HCC team to complete this epic all did in in less that 8 hours (between 7:20 and 7 :40) – at an average of around 14 mph – does not sound too hard – try it next year if you like !!
Thanks to all HCC participants, John and Neil and George and Jason for the support and to our two guests Paul and Ian who joined in the fun.
Hartlepool Cycling Club tradition restored.
Quote from old timer JP
“I was one of the sceptics who doubted the ability of the modern rider. After observing the ride in the comfort of Phil’s car my attitude changed completely. Even when some of the riders were obviously struggling my invitation to hang on to the door handle was refused. My only other comment is about the low gears that seemed to be used on average hills then the same on the steepest. This seems to be the modern way of riding.
The weather helped a lot, you got the date right with what we have today.
I salute the riders for their achievement.”