Humber 100 Fundrasier

From the Parish Magazine June 2014

It seems to be becoming a habit, though they are rather good at it. Monk Fryston Cycle Club members again took to their saddles for a blistering 100 mile ride for charity.

Why do it?

Last year you may remember the cyclists undertook a gruelling coast-to-coast ride to help fundraising efforts for St Wilfrid’s new roof. This year the challenge was set by one of their own members, Iain Mitchell. Three years ago Iain’s mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease so he has first–hand experience of the devastating effects that dementia has not only on the individual but their family and friends. The Alzheimer’s Society is the leading support and research charity for those coping with dementia, so was an obvious choice for Iain’s efforts.

That’s a big one

To ask others to pledge money he needed to set a real challenge. The Humber 100 route embraced all that a cycling enthusiast could want. First it was a defining distance –100 miles on one of those saddles is inspiring. Then it should take in a clear icon or sight. What better way of seeing the Humber Bridge than crossing it on a bike? By the end of 2013 a route had been worked out that covered just over 100 miles from Hillam to North Lincolnshire, over the bridge before returning through the East Riding. Winter training ensued with the weekly cycle club rides. Still the distance was daunting and some of the riders had never cycled that kind of distance in a day before.

Stage one

At 8.00 am on Saturday 17 May, 17 cyclists gathered expectantly in The Cross Keys’ car park. It looked like the weather would be kind so sunscreen was liberally applied before the merry band departed. Within an hour they were wending their way round the dockside at Goole in a glorious 18 ˚C. The peleton was going strong and keeping a close formation.  The wind turbines on the Isle of Axholme were turning lazily in the slight breeze as the lads followed the river Trent past fields of golden oilseed rape. The first stop was at two hours in Amcotts. “How are we looking?” was asked more to get details of speed and distance, but in their club kit there’s no doubt they looked very professional. At an average of 17 mph, they were cycling like professionals too.

Stage two

Refreshed with energy drinks, bananas and flapjacks they set off again, slightly more strung out, in the direction of Scunthorpe. They soon regrouped and couldn’t believe their eyes as they were headed into Guinness. They were right, they couldn’t believe their eyes, it was Gunness. Never mind. Maybe one later at The Crown? Whoever said that North Lincolshire was flat clearly hasn’t been there. The second stage of the route took in three cheeky little hills. In true club spirit the hill monsters vied for the King of the Mountains accolade. Carson Maddock claimed the first one, a sweeping rise that got steeper towards the end. Richard ‘Taz’ Wilson claimed the next two: a short, sharp wall of tarmac where he just pipped Nathan Mills, then a killer with false flats and punchy rises at South Ferriby. The Humber Bridge had been in view for a good 10 miles now but there was mounting concern among the cyclists, “That bridge doesn't look to be getting any nearerAnd who was that man in the black Peugeot who was now stalking them? Was he from M15 or Cycling Weekly? Or did he just have a thing for MAMiLs (middle-aged men in lycra)?

The Bridge

Having regrouped after the hills, the cyclists swept on to the Bridge en masse. By now it was 20+ ˚C so the cooling breeze high over the Humber was a welcome relief. After a brief stop for a photo call they cruised past their support car (not for the first time) that was queuing for both roadworks and tolls for their next stop at the park just to the north of the bridge. You’d have thought that 17 hungry cyclists in need of refreshment would be good for business. However, the burger van man wasn’t happy. “They’ve ate all m’burgers,” he moaned. Chips and ice creams were downed too, along with energy drinks and a rather healthy-looking chicken salad (home made, not from the burger van).

It was noon by now. Over half the distance covered. Now for the pedal home.

Stage three

If you consider that most of the riders don’t do much more than 50 miles in one outing, this was a double-header for them. Legs were a bit tired. Shoulders, backs and necks were feeling it. The sun was relentless (it was the first proper summer weekend of the year). Despite this they traded cheeky banter and cycling insights, "Do you think Bradley Wiggins eats two half-pound cheeseburgers when he is out riding?" From the banks of the Humber it was a gentle roll up towards North Cave. Even a 1–2% incline at this stage feels like going up Buttertubs. The roads were a little busier and a series of roundabouts saw the group lose its way. The support car zipped off to get them back on track – a few extra miles added to the total. Once safely on the right road it was mainly pleasant lanes to Holme-on-Spalding-Moor. Signs of tiredness may have been creeping in though you’d never have guessed from the laughter as the cyclists lounged on the grass outside the café. The only injury of the day was reported requiring a sticking plaster in a sensitive place.  

The home run

Over six hours into the ride they were still averaging about 17 mph. With ‘just’ 25 miles to go at least one of the cyclists had already clocked a personal best having ridden further than he’d ever cycled in one day. They set off for Selby together. Keeping a tight peleton at this stage would help everyone’s legs. All was going well till Selby where the route took them up through Bishop’s Wood to Sherburn. Without realising it the main group dropped a couple of riders while overtaking a nervous horse making those last few miles tough going for those riding alone. Nothing could beat that feeling of elation at completing the ride as they rolled back to The Crown. The euphoria (as well as the relief) was clear to see as they celebrated together with a cold beer. It was seven hours and 45 minutes since they’d set off, with five hours and 50 minute of that cycling. They’d completed over 100 miles each, climbing over 2,000 feet and crossing a total of 14 bridges.

Totally shattered

What a marathon day, what an achievement for Iain. His original target of £1,000 had been shattered. At the time of writing he’d raised £2100. It’s not too late to add to that. Visit www.justgiving.com/iain-mitchell1 or call Iain on 01977 681063. Remember, The Alzheimer’s Society provides support for carer’s like Iain’s dad a well as funding research into finding a cure for this devastating illness.

Where now?

It seems that we can all learn something from the cyclists. For starters, if you are prepared to cycle the odd 100 miles, it’s okay to have breakfast, flapjacks, burgers, chips, ice cream, cake and booze as part of your diet – in one day. If you hear that the Cycle Club are off on another fundraising venture get your sunscreen on, as they seem to always bring out the sun. And if you seriously want to help raising funds for a cause you care about ask the Monk Fryston cyclists for help as there is talk of this becoming an annual event.

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