The fourth of my ‘Randonneur Round the Year’ events and it is the middle of December: I hit on the idea of meeting up with some VC167 friends in York and doing a circular from there, but I think it will need more planning to make that work as no one was free today.
Dean was free though – and I arranged to meet him for lunch in Thirsk. It was going to be about 100km to reach Thirsk and another 100km home, and by heading out via Malton and returning via York I could have a fairly interesting ride in the daylight followed a fairly easy ride in the dark.
At “Audax O’clock” I was up and having porridge in the kitchen while the world outside slept. It was dark, and continued to be dark as I rode out alone into the Wolds. My dynamo B&M headlight flooded the road and hedges with light, giving me the confidence that I could see and be seen.
Today I took a different route to Birdsall… not through Thixendale as I normally do, but a slightly longer route to pick up the Roman Road running high along the western edge of the Wolds overlooking Painsthorpe and Uncleby. As I climbed the sun climbed above the horizon behind me and bathed the trees around me in a golden glow. I continued and with the undulations in the tops of the Wolds the sun set again and rose again before it was high enough in the sky to stay above the horizon. Looking north the countryside around Malton was shrouded in mist. As I dropped downhill into Birdsall the sun disappeared once more leaving me in the pale grey of pre-dawn light.
It was cold in the mist and fog, with nothing to see around me. My glasses became so wet I couldn’t see through them and found it easier to pop them in my pocket than try to ride with them on my face. I briefly stopped for a coffee in Malton and then kept going on the main B1257 to Hovingham. The mist and fog wasn’t lifting and I felt damp and cold, so worked hard to keep my speed up and keep warm.
I enjoyed riding through the trees and the dense smell of pine filled my lungs – I breathed deeply and gave thanks to God for this sensual experience. Coxwold came, and the climb up past St Michael’s Church which brought me to the lowest of my low gears. Then I gathered speed and hurried on to Thirsk via Sowerby.
I’d made it to Thirsk by 11am and met Dean at the ‘Spoons in the market square: I’d covered 110km in 5 hours and was ready for some food. Thankfully the ‘Spoons offered me a full English Breakfast for very good value and unlimited refills of coffee.
As fast blast rides go, this was fairly straight-forward… leaving Thirsk I rode to Topcliffe, then south to York and a pint at the Tap by the Station, then home via Elvington, Melbourne and Everingham with the dark looming and creeping around me.
Home again, home again… This wasn’t as hard as my November ride because the weather was a lot warmer. I wonder what January will have in store for me… Next up though is the VC16 Christmas meal.