I will probably do separate posts on some of these activities but just as a quick summary these have been the highlights of my summer :
Richmond Five Dales Sportive
Actually mine was the Richmond Four Dales as I only did the 80 mile option rather than the full 100 miles.
A tough cyclosportive through the Yorkshire Dales that started and finished in Richmond, North Yorkshire. The Stang and Tan Hill took strength out of my legs so "sadly" I missed the cut off to allow me to go up Fleet Moss (from the Hawes) and Park Rash (from Kettlewell). What a relief!
The Richmond Sportive was part of a bank holiday weekend of cycling in Yorkshire.
The trip started in Leeds from where I made my way to the Yorkshire Dales via Thirsk, with a stopover in Masham for a pint of Black Sheep.
The day ended with a very tough climb over some lost and lonely moors which was actually the edge of the military firing range. I just had the sound of gun shots for company as I sauntered over to the Youth Hostel at Grinton Lodge.
After my exploits at the cyclosportive I made my way over to the Lake District where I enjoyed a lovely evening meal with my friend Lois, on the edge of Lake Windermere, in the shadow of the mountains. The following day I wended my way back into Yorkshire to pick up my train. This involved riding across the Forest of Bowland - and guess what, it doesn't have any trees at all!
Quebrantahuesos cyclosportive. It was amazing to see how to small villages in the foothills of the Pyrenees - Jaca and Sabinanigo could just be completed invaded by cyclists. At lunchtime in Jaca you couldn't get into a restaurant for love nor money. Every single table in the town was taken up with what appeared to be every cyclist in Spain - well apart from the ones who were in all the restaurants in Sabinanigo!
The event was a real festival of cycling and the climb up the col de Marie Blanque was a killer!
Ride to Paris - from Wallington to Bastille (via Arc de Triomphe) was all done on two wheels (apart from the bit between Newhaven and Dieppe). The ride was done almost exclusively on country lanes all the way to the Western suburbs of Paris. Our first view of Paris was from the top of a hill just outside Poissy. The sight of the whole metropolis with the landmarks of Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, Montparnasse Tower were real sites to behold. It felt really emotional when we finally emerged from the Bois de Boulogne onto Avenue de la Grande Armee and saw the Arc de Triomphe come into view.
Grimpeur des Wolds - Riding this cyclosportive with a nice group of guys and girls from Hull Thursday Club cycling club made for a very pleasant day out. We rode at a leisurely pace and it was all very social and civilised. We were even blessed with wall to wall sunshine.
Ride to Canterbury - One of the guys in my club organised a ride to Canterbury. The route was done via country lanes and it was very scenic. It's one place I'd never ridden to before. It was a very pleasant day out. We also stopped at Rochester, where there's another well known cathedral. Once in Canterbury we all had a well earned pint of Shepherd Neame.
Sean Kelly Tour of Waterford cyclosportive - A great weekend away. We even got to eat in one of Ireland's top restaurants, the Tannery at Dungarvan. As ever, I suffered twoards the end of this cyclosportive, but I still enjoyed it. The folks were friendly and very chatty. It was a well organised event with loads to eat, and also a chance to socialise at the indoor feedstations. It was great meeting Sean Kelly as well.