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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

G Up

When we decided to use the Mule as the symbol of our cycling group there were a number of obvious influences.
An offspring of a male donkey and a female horse, the mule has evolved over time.

They are considered more patient, sure-footed, hardy and long-lived than horses
Less obstinate, faster, and more intelligent than donkeys.

We likened this equine beauty to our cycles, a beast of burden to carry ourselves and our internal saddlebags - away from the conventional routes of life.
To be obedient, responsive and to go where directed.

Unlike our historical pioneers who used the mule practically to their full potential,  my literary route was seemingly not so comprehensive.

Mules feature more commonly in Southern American Literature than any other creature.
Characteristically they meet their demise by a variety of different ways, which is often integral to the storyline.
Overwork, asphyxiation, drowning, beating, gunshot, train collisions, even decapitation by an opera singer have all featured.

In "Blood Meridian" written by Cormac McCarthy - 59 specific mules are killed and dozens of other mules die in a plunge off a cliff.
Truman Capote's also gets all 'Muled up' in his racy "Other Voices, Other Rooms,"
His poor Mule named John Brown is found hanging from a chandelier in a dilapidated antebellum mansion with a spittoon tied to its leg.

Seemingly it is acceptable to write about Mule hardships - a trait that is not lost on some of our riders.
Left to Right - Bobby,Duncan, Philip, Manuel, Simon, Neale, Craig, John and Mark S

Every July Beverley host its own Sportive called the Big G
Now all sky supporters will know that 'G' is the nick name for Geraint Thomas (No Immediate link)
Well 'G' broke his pelvis on the first week of Le Tour yet he continued to ride.
From that moment on the Expression 'Man Up' became redundant replaced by 'G' up.
This was a great sense of irony as The Big G does require some of Geraints attitude
The 160Km (110 mile) route starts and finishes in the historic market town of Beverley, the home base of the UK Mules.
It covers the best roads in the Yorkshire Wolds featuring many of the toughest climbs used in the East Yorkshire Classic and the 2006 & 2007 National Road Race Championships.

Featured climbs include Life Hill (Sledmere), Fimber, Wharram Percy Wold, Birdsall Brow, Thixendale Wold, Hanging Grimston, Acklam Brow, Great Givendale and Nunburnholme.
These all add up to nearly 8,000 feet of climbing with very few flat bits.

The Guys saw the Camera before me and tried to jostle me out of the shot
So I crossed over and sneaked up the outside
Sun Glasses hide the pain
After 80 Miles we came to the last major climb of Nunburnholme, not the steepest by any means but it comes at a time when your legs are very heavy.

Whilst we were going up and down our US Mules were going straight and Fast in Katty Flatlands

Paddy tells the tale:-
This years Katy Flatlands saw the ride change its course significantly both from a start location and the actual route itself. Most of the route was reasonably decent but there were sections that could see many of the Mule riders visiting the dentist in the next few days.

The Ride started out from Cinco Ranch High School and much excitement was in the air with the knowledge that our MULES "Summer" Strip had finally arrived and was being auditioned for the first time at the "Starters Gate". As usual our stable was located in PRIME TIME location - Right next to the start.

The Katy Flatlands has always attracted the a good showing and as the MULES ranks grow so does our participation in these events which saw us eclipse the 20 Rider mark for the second time this year.

The start looked interesting with Lightning, and dark clouds looming over the direction to which we were heading and before long rooster tails from the Mule train resembled the actions of a 200 yard car wash, --- All Foam, Froth & Spray!!

We started fast - As we do! And remarkably held it all together for at least 45 miles when Lee had a flat tire. At this juncture we decided to split allowing the 100 Mile riders to get going while the 65 mile (Yes RIGHT) riders to wait for Lee.

As it happened the 65 Mile riders took a wrong turn and ended up doing 95 Miles and showed their true strength and combative spirit. Special Shouts to Ivonne & Armando who both shattered their personal bests.

The sun baked down on wet roads and created a Turkish bath like atmosphere which overwhelmed Paddy & Barry who both suffered from Cramping & the effects of Heat.
In the end everyone finished what they set out to achieve and the "Afters" saw an abundance of Adult beverages consumed and the ride remembered with laughter.....and tears.


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