Riders: Jenny Down, Tina Musgrove, Mark Hitchenor, Peter Down, John Musgrove, Martin Bagshaw
The ride into Tickhill was cold and a little windy with a few spots of rain thrown in for good measure so I’d made the decision that if only one rider turned up the ride would be cancelled. Imagine how pleased I was when 5 hardy riders arrived, one in shorts!, so it looked like the ride to Wentworth was on! It wasn’t an April Fool joke, they actually wanted to go!
After putting another waterproof layer on to keep warm we headed out of Tickhill up Apy lane and soon found ourselves in Braithwell where we made a brief stop for John M to try and fix the Di2 rear mech of his Giant which wasn’t changing. Unable to fix the problem John continued on his Di2 fixie but if anyone was able to cope with the upcoming hills with only 2 chainrings it was John.
On we went with the temperature not improving and even Pete commenting that his knees were a bit parky as we headed through Ravenfield, old and new and descended to Thrybergh where the ride leader, talking instead of navigating again, missed a right turn. My error was quickly pointed out and we were soon back on course and heading for Kilnhurst where, after safely crossing Karl’s bridge, the climbing began in earnest, an opportunity for us mortal riders to hang on to John with his 2 gears, nope he still got to the top first closely followed by Pete & Mark leaving Tina, Jenny and a red faced ride leader bringing up the rear. Over the round about and more climbing to Upper Haugh (still don’t know how to pronounce it) then it was a “right turn Clyde” for a rewarding descent on good tarmac before doubling back up America lane.
America lane turned into Hoober Field Road as we were once again split up thanks to the climb to Hoober Stand, a 30-metre-high (98 ft) tower and Grade II listed building. It was designed by Henry Flitcroft for the Whig aristocrat Thomas Watson-Wentworth, Earl of Malton (later the 1st Marquess of Rockingham) to commemorate the quashing of the 1745 Jacobite rebellion. I love Wikipedia!
Regrouping and recovering heart rates we decided that Wentworth Garden Centre might be a bit busy it being Easter Sunday so opted for Elescar Heritage centre instead so started a precarious descent on some dodgy lanes covered in water, gravel and riddled with potholes. Fortunately everyone made it down intact although no Strava records were broken.
A brief delay while John tried a second time to get his Di2 fixie to work but we were soon rolling into the Heritage centre and the cafe. Taking care not to park bikes in front of the ladies shop we upset last time we entered the warmth of the café and pulled two tables together. Tea, coffee, black cappuccino’s ordered along with scones, cake and sausage butties all ordered we sat down to wait and discussed hormonal parrots, faith healing and Easter eggs. Re-fuelled and warmed up it was time to put the tables back to their original positions and get back on the road.
From the café we climbed into Wentworth where we had a decision to make, turn left for a ½ mile flat ride to garden centre or turn right for a 4 ½ mile loop with 125 metres of climbing. Guess which way we went – so after 4 ½ miles and some more big hills we arrived at the garden centre to find it closed for Easter Sunday! Looks like the Heritage centre was a good call after all. Riding passed the empty garden centre we turned for home, drafting a mountain biker along the way, and a rewarding mostly down hill ride back through Kilnhurst to Hooton Roberts.
From there it was a relatively short hop, all be it with a few undulations, back through Conisborough, Clifton and Micklebring back to Braithwell where after a couple group photos John, Tina and I split for home through Maltby leaving Pete, Jenny & Mark to retrace the route back into Tickhill. A great ride once we’d warmed up, looking forward to the next one.
Everyone – for turning out in chilly conditions
Pete – Shorts in parky weather
John M – Doing 4,000m elevation with only two gears