This year's B&DCC team for the iconic Open Cycling Coast to Coast in a Day was Darren Billings, Sonia Insley, Jean-Paul Wheater, Neil Fryer, Mark Rigby, Simon Goodair, Pete Yeomans and Steven Farrer.

Special thanks to driver, Soigneur and Domestique Mark Hayward. Here's a write up from Darren.

Saturday 24th June saw 8 Bolsover riders take part in the Annual Coast to Coast in a day event run by Open Cycling. This is a 150 mile 4500m (Although my garmin is nearer 4000m) ride from Seascale in the North East next to the Lake District to Whitby on the North Yorkshire East Coast.

Sonia and Neil had done the ride before back in 2014 when I was only 1 year into the cycling and still pretty unfit, so that year I opted to be support crew. This year I roped them both in again with one of my best mates Jean-Paul.

Apart from Steven who was ahead of us at from the start and finished with an impressive chip time of 10hrs 45, we all met in the Seascale Car park just after 5am. After a quick photo in front of the C2C banner, we scanned in our barcodes at the start and we were off. Weather conditions were going to be favourable with mid teen temperatures and a nice 10 to 15mph tailwind.

We decided that we would all ride together at a ‘steady’ pace into the bottom of the nemesis climb of Hardknott Pass, given 10/10 in Simon Warren's 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs. I had driven up it in 2014 which was hard enough and knew what to expect. I had also seen photos of cyclists on the climb on a Saturday morning of C2C, but I wasn’t ready at the cattle grid to look up and see a sea of ants slowly crawling their way up the pass. Anyway the climb was completed with only a few not having the discretion of a little walk. Now is not the time to name and shame!!

Over Wrynose and on to the Ferry we went hoping to see Simon. We suspected he may go for a quick time as discussed earlier, and go he did. He was on the Ferry over Lake Windamere before us and completed his ride in an amazing chip time of 9hr 4 min. Mark Hayward was already at Whitby after dropping us off at Seascale and told us he was 5th rider home and it was way past 5am when we got going. An amazing achievement for Simon.

First feedstop is at Kendal and the longest sector at about 40ish miles. 10 min stops were planned by our Soigneur, but getting a group of thirsty, hungry needing the toilet people in and out of a feed stop quickly especially with an all you can eat buffet is near on impossible. I was pleased to have reached Kendal as it signified that the hardest climb of the day was done and we were nearly 1/3 in to the ride. It’s at this point that Pete dropped off the back. An amazing solo effort from here for Pete finishing a couple of hours behind the main group. I think this is the biggest ride Pete had every done and I’m sure he’ll be back for more. Even if you find yourself alone on C2c there will always be someone to ride with and talk to with so many riders (1200ish) out on the road.

Kendal to Hardraw was the next section. A climb out of Kendal and a general steady uphill sector saw us the 30ish miles up the road to Hardraw. Every rider has their ups and downs in a ride and this whole sector was pretty much my down sector. I wasn’t feeling great and sat on for most of the section. Hardraw was reached, refuelled and off to Tunstall.

The next 2 sectors Hardraw to Tunstall and Tunstall to Ingleby again both about 30 miles are rolling sections. My legs came back and I was starting to really enjoy the day. The pace had gone up in these sectors and saw us bombing along at 25 to 30mph at some points, with us easing up the climbs to save something in the tank for the infamous North Yorkshire Moors. We mainly continued to ride together, a couple of breaks off the front, but all arriving at Ingleby with 30ish miles to go.

Ingleby was where our Domestique Mark Hayward had planned to meet us, but saw him stood out on the road with the new rider only in the feedstaion policy. Marks journey across to us had been tough as he’d had a 15mph headwind to contend with. This turned into a longer stop with people needing extra food, drink and stretching time. Eventually we prized everyone away from the butchers Pork Pie and Quiche and we had 27 miles and about 2500ft of climb left to go. 

The last sector saw us split up with the race for home well and truly on. The last major leg test of the day was Limber Hill topping out at 33% with 10 ish mile to go.  A rolling 10 mile from here and a fast 30mph sprint into Whitby saw us all complete within a 10 minute window.

While chip times around the 11.5 hours mark isn’t breaking any records our ride times show that the main group all completed around the 9.5hrs mark. When there’s an all you can eat buffet on offer 4 times a day some may say what’s the rush!! Lol

It’s a great well organised event and such a bucket list event to ride across the country. Would I go again and did I put my foot down on Hardknott Pass??

Entries open for next years event fairly soon.  Dave Martin will manage a group entry for the club, so either message myself or Dave on FB or you can email me – Darren@leafgardens.co.uk or Dave dave@essendy.com 

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