For me the YD300 wasn’t so much about the miles or the physical challenge that the Yorkshire Dales delivers in bucket loads but the personal challenge of arranging an ITT bike packing route and ride.
The Cairngorm Loop. The Bearbones200. The failed HT550 and the Capital Trail where all delivered to me Ikea style. Flat packed (bad pun as they are not flat) and ready to go. Delivered to my door and ready to ride. All that is left is the demand on myself to master the route. Dominate my fears and conquer the contours.
I know the Dales. It’s my two-wheeled playground. I have experienced it’s elevation changes and it’s less than billiard board surface. I have grown used to and learnt to respect its unnatural tendencies to throw everything at you. She is a beauty and a beast but ultimately she is wonderful.
It was now my time to deliver the Ikea ride for the ITT riders. Maps were strewn around the workshop floor and my memory banks of trails and routes downloaded into digital mapping sites. Before long a rough and ready seed was planted and allowed to grow and blossom. Time to spread the word and unleash the beast.
Wow. What a response. Fully booked within 12 days and an ever-growing reserve list.
The YD300 was on. A date put in the diary , slotted in-between 24hr races and other pre arranged ITT rides and events. A mailing list filed and a recon ride arranged with Stu.
The 5ps. Perfect Prep Prevents Poor Performance. A great little motto. One that I will implement in running the YD300. Yet again that wasn’t the case. Before I knew it, it’s a month away. Emails and route changes went whizzing across the internet highways. Rider drop-outs and excuses reduced the field but I rolled on, picking up momentum as the start day approached. WHAM. It’s here.
For some it was to be a physical rollercoaster with tired limb delivering the lows and caffeine energy gels feeding the highs. My physical ride was on the back burner. My emotional rollercoaster was boarding and trundling down the track. Riders and steeds filled the workshop. Nervous conversations soon brimmed with confidence once handshakes, welcomes and “what’s your strategy” broke the ice. Strangers soon became friends and the brotherhood of the ITT grew in numbers. I though fussed and worried. Ignore that cool exterior, that water off a ducks back approach. I felt I and my ride needed to impress. A lot of people had made a big effort to commit, travel and challenge themselves to an entire valuable weekend of selfish cycling.
An early start and riders tucked into breakfast. Coffee was guzzled down with gusto. Bagels were prepared with Jam and peanut butter whilst the car park was a hive or faffing and last-minute kit packing conundrums. Rider briefing at 07.45am under a clear blue sky and as Ian B counted down the seconds the clock clicked 08.00am. GO baby GO GO GO.
Don’t worry. I will not consume you with “And we went over this hill” and “The rain started at 4am” and “I continued up the next vicious climb”. If you want to know what it was like then SIGN ON TO THE YD300 2016.
What I will finish off by saying is that the YD300 was my event to please other riders. I wanted to share the joys that the Dales bring me. They are my trails but shared by many but this big loop, this tapestry of trails and challenges was my thank you to the other ride creators. I wanted to pack the Ikea ride into a Riders Cycle Centre box for you to open and enjoy and for the whole 34.35 hours and until I got back to base, it is all that consumed me. Did it go well. Do they want a refund, will they be back to better themselves. Time will tell. Once bodies and minds have healed will they spread the word. Will they give me a thumbs up or grumble about the weather but thank you. Thank you to the Dales and the weather. Thank you to all of you that helped me. Well done to the brave 19 that stepped up to the plate. Well done the podium guys and the Cyclocross riders. Thank you to the Cafes and the Full English Breakfast.
Lets hope next year’s YD300 goes as well as this years and look out for it’s smaller sibling, the YD200. COMING SOON 2015.