[caption id="attachment_3391" align="aligncenter" width="598"] Hugh McGill – with the faulty brakes - and one of the Bike Ride award winners (see later)[/caption]
The weather at the start of the day was overcast following a night of heavy rainfall. Roads were wet and the conditions were slippery in places. Little did we know at this point that many parts of the North East would be subject to flooding today. As we left the Humber we headed along some picturesque roads and headed towards the North York Moors. But as the journey progressed, the weather started closing in. Lunch time arrived and rain was in the air.
[caption id="attachment_3392" align="aligncenter" width="597"] Many of the cyclists took their lunch at this delightful tea shop en route. Steven Clark is putting on his waterproofs before the rain closes in.[/caption]
The clouds let loose their payload on the forlorn cyclists, making conditions more tricky, splashing up muck and spray from the bikes as they wheeled their way through the puddles and potholes.
Continuing on the journey, we pressed towards the North York Moors, climbing some steep hills and going through the gateway to the Moors via the Castle Howard Estate.
[caption id="attachment_3393" align="aligncenter" width="596"] One of the gatehouse entrances we passed through today leading to the Castle Howard Estate.[/caption]
Although the rain had fallen on all the cyclists, we didn’t let it dampen our spirits. Soon the weather began to ease, the clouds lifted and we even saw some sun giving us a clearer view of the beautiful scenery laid out in front of us. The roads offered challenging climbs and descents, but with some gusty cross winds cutting across the cyclist on some of the steeper parts of the journey.
Dropping down off the Moors, we descended into the village of Stockley. Whilst one group of cyclists paced on to the Premier Inn, the second group planned a far more civilised visit: to a friend of Hugh McGill and were duly treated to tea and chocolate cake in the Orchard of their garden.
[caption id="attachment_3394" align="aligncenter" width="598"] Getting set for the onward journey after their tea and cakes[/caption]
Incredibly despite the hills, the rain and the mud, the average speeds of the groups increased once again with the fastest pace ever for a Smiths News cycle ride.
At the end of the day everyone arrived safely at the Premier Inn for the evening meal and for the presentation of the ‘awards’. The awards are democratically decided alone by Mark Charlton and the worthy winners are presented with the illustrious Smiths News Bike certificates. Here is the lists of the winners:
- The ‘Half Wheeling’ Award – the award for refusing to let the person alongside you get their front wheel ahead of yours, went to Martin Beach.
- The ‘Quote of the Week’ Award went to Steven Clark – For politeness I can’t quite tell you exactly what the quote was, but it was something to do with the application of the soothing cream that cyclists need at the end of a bike ride.
- The ‘Nutcracker’ Award went to Hugh McGill for falling off his bike and banging his head (Hugh was fine afterwards, although the same can’t be said for his cycle helmet).
- The ‘Chunder and Lightning’ Award went to Cayleb Needham (you had to be there).
- The prestigious ‘King of the Mountain’ Award for truly magnificent uphill cycling went to Ben Beach.
- The ‘White Jersey’ Award for the best newcomer went to Paul Northover for a fantastic ride with the least aerodynamic bike and the widest handlebars ever seen on a Smiths News bike ride.
- The ‘I bought some great tyres from a guy in Germany . . . . psssssssssss’ Award went to Ian Tallamy for having 2 punctures in an hour on the same tyre.
[caption id="attachment_3395" align="aligncenter" width="545"] Steven Clark after receiving his award. Tomorrow his colleague Fred Napier joins the team as the final Day Cyclist supporter for the home run into Newcastle[/caption]
Tomorrow will be our last day and together with the ecstasy of celebration, the achievements made during the week, will be a touch of sadness that it’s all coming to an end. We head off towards the Angel of the North for a final photo opportunity and then towards Newcastle House for the finish. You can read about the final blog early next week.