The first thing I did when I woke at 4 o’clock on the morning of the June 30th was look out of the window, no rain, thank goodness! It was time to Rumble……!
I love the gentle bustle at HQ before the first riders start to arrive, the registration team organising their numbers and signing on sheets, the kitchen team boiling kettles and setting out cups and saucers, the medics planning their routes, the chip timing people gearing up their computers, all ready for the start. The anticipation and excitement is palpable.
The minute the first Rumblers arrive the atmosphere changes, the noise levels rise in the dining hall, the tapping of cycling shoes on the floor, the greeting of old friends, the chatter over the route maps, the background music and clatter of cups of tea and coffee being drunk.
For a while the dining room is suddenly full of people, but slowly they start to filter out to the start line and the buzz moves from the hall to outside, riders clipping themselves into their pedals, calling to mates to hurry up, still the laughter, still the excitement but also an air of nervousness now.
As soon as they are off, the quietness returns to HQ but out on the route there is a feeling of adventure, of fun and great camaraderie. There seems to be no boundaries between the professional riders and the complete novices. Everyone is out to achieve their own goals but equally there is an unspoken rule that everyone helps everyone else. It’s not just the staff who are friendly at the Ryedale Rumble!
I am not going to lie, all three routes are hard, there are some epic climbs on each one but there is also some of the most beautifully scenery you will ever witness on a sportive and in between the hills and the vistas are 4 fabulous feed stations.
Wonderful volunteers ply you with locally made sausage rolls, home baked cakes and flapjack, renewing your energy and will power for the next stage. What I love seeing were groups of people sitting round tables, chatting, laughing, eating and drinking and appearing not to have a care in the world and certainly not looking like they were midway through a brutal sportive!
The Ryedale Rumble certainly caters for everyone, the cyclist who wants to push themselves, to beat a time but also for the group of friends who want to ride together, to encourage each other round the route and finish something they never believed they could do.
HQ comes alive again once the riders come home, the elation on their faces as they cross the finish line never fails to make me smile, the sense of achievement as they retrace their route on the map, reliving every inch of a climb, their euphoria of getting to the top and the end is infectious.
As more people arrive back the room is filled with a cacophony of laughter, chatter, pies and chips being devoured. It’s what the Ryedale Rumble is all about, we have been called the Friendliest Sportive and we really are. So many riders stayed after the event, chatting, relaxing and I know the volunteers all loved hearing the stories from the routes.
Despite having spent all day in HQ I was on such a high at the end of the day and I hope all our riders went home feeling the same! So many of them promised to be back next year and to bring more friends and colleagues and so many who rode the Inspire route truly were inspired and want to take on the Challenge route in 2020.
All in all, a perfect day for the perfect ride in Friendliest Sportive!
Hope to see you next year …… which route will you do?
PHOTOGRAPHS BY LUCUS HIGHAM