C2C Ride May 2011

Leaving wet Whitehaven

Peter Gillot and Richard Hancock, the support team could see the Calder riders climbing slowly towards them in ones and twos as they waited higher up the slopes of the C2C’s final major climb out of Stanhope with the magnificent backdrop to the west of the Northern Pennines, bathed in late afternoon sunshine.

8 hours earlier the group of 7 had left  a cold, wet Whitehaven, aiming to complete the 136 mile route to Sunderland in daylight. Organiser Martin Price’s meticulous planning had left nothing to chance and he’d been tracking the weather for a while. His decision to start on the West Coast paid off with a strong tailwind.

Nearing the top of Hartside, Johnny Croston, Kevin
Watson and further back Tom Butler and Martin Price

The banks of Loweswater, Whinlatter Pass and the lower flanks of Lakeland Giants Skiddaw and Blencathra were soon behind them as they made their way to Greystoke, the first stop. At the Greystoke Cafe, the whole party were accomadated at the old kitchen table by the Aga for flapjacks, brownies and tea, where earlier the lady owner had done her best to persuade Peter and Richard to join the village ladies for a yoga dancing session to music in her adjacent barn. One of the ladies told Richard she was convinced he had a leotard on under his trousers!! At this point Peter retreated to the car to sleep and wait for the group to arrive.

After Penrith, the serious uplands began with the long climb of Hartside where Tom Shelton, Michael Vennard and Matt Dodsworth pushed ahead to the Summit Cafe with it’s dramatic views back to the Lakeland fells. Eggs & Beans on Toast were consumed before the drop to Garrigill and the climb of Black Hill, the C2C’s highest point at just over 2000 feet. At this point the skies began to clear and the sun made an appearance.

Tom Butler and Johnny Croston on the
final climb out of Stanhope

Tom Shelton’s chainring became detached when his bolts loosened and dropped out. Martin and Michael stayed to assist Tom and in Nenthead, the next Hamlet they found, bizzarely only two businesses, a pub and a cycle shop. The shop was closed, but a note on the door guided them to the shop owner who returned to fix the problem.

With Tom’s essential inner ring restored for the steep climbing ahead, they pressed on. The other riders had waited, but were forced to keep moving ahead as they began to cool in the chilly wind. 

There were further climbs over Kilhope Law and also after the decent to Allenheads before the long drop to Stanhope. This climb is a serious proposition, with the group having 98 miles in their legs and the road rearing up steeply to begin with and then once on the opn fell a battle with cross winds up to their waiting support team and the final cafe stop before the decent on the Waskerley Way cycle through Consett and Stanley to the North Sea at Sunderland. 

The final leg included a wrong turning and a puncture but the group finished together on Roker Promenade with everyone putting in a tremendous performance. “Chapeau” to all of them and to Martin P for a fine organisational job. There was just time for Matt Dodsworth to dip his front wheel in the North Sea and some Sunderland fish and chips before the drive home.

See Calder’s 2010 C2C
Tom Butler’s Video
More Photographs and Details on Web Site

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