Carlton into Cleveland - 20 January
Only six dared turn out for my programmed ‘hilly’ 30 miler, expecting to start straight up Carlton Bank.
Alas, it was not to be as the full risk assessment (Steve P bravely attempted it shortly before) deemed it too dangerous with snow and ice on the untreated road and the temperature not due to rise above 3ºC all day.
Not to worry, I had a plan B low level route across the border into Stockton , following the excellent cycle path network through Ingleby Barwick to Preston Park and back through Yarm.
This extended the ride to 35 miles and provided a change of scenery - even into territory surprisingly not previously visited by James and Barbara.
We also managed to fit in two excellent café visits to go towards the 50 in 2016 challenge as there was time and we needed to get warm. Scoring for the awards was also made easy with just the six of us.
The first call after 10 miles was at Fletchers Farm Coffee Shop near Gt Ayton, which scored a whopping 80%. Surprisingly the second stop at The Grange, Kirklevington scored the same, although for different reasons – especially the exceptional value for money.
An easier undulating ride and reasonable dry weather meant we were back by 3pm (Ampleforth riders please note!).
The snow capped Cleveland Hills and Roseberry Topping looked impressive – and even tempted Steve to give the bank another try at the end as he felt cheated.
The rest of us didn’t and will be back for the hills challenge when the weather improves.