Summary of the day by Kate Horsfall

The 14th August 2016 saw the very first Yorkshire Lass Charity Sportive take place at Carlton Lodge Activity Centre in Thirsk.... and what an event it shaped up to be!

We never thought when we were all sat planning the event just how successful it was going to be and how it would really put the Yorkshire lasses on the cycling event map and of course and most importantly just how much money we would raise for our chosen Charity Women V Cancer. Here is our story of that fabulous weekend and how it all unfolded and became such a fabulous event!

So the event weekend started on Friday for a lot of us. From event HQ at Carlton Lodge the anticipation and excitement was already building! There was lots to do and deliveries were been made to the site everything from cakes to huge recycling bins and Portaloo’s it was a hive of activity. Our trusty Yorkshire Lads (aka Jude and Kate’s husbands) Ian and Carl, were up and off early with the signage as they had 3 routes to fully sign for the weekend.

Saturday arrived and with it so did more cake! Lots of raffle prizes, food and supplies began to arrive and it was all hands to the pump! Registration started to take shape and the hall was being transformed ready for the pasta party that night.

The Yorkshire Lasses and friends and family started to arrive and many hands made light work and before we knew it we had riders starting to arrive on site !!! It has to be said that Carlton lodge was the best location for the event, we were very lucky that Judith’s boss David allowed us to use the site as it really did offer everything. Accommodation on site and a large field meant we could offer a bed for the night for people who may have travelled a bit further or even just fancied making a weekend of it! So we started to fill up the accommodation side of the field and ladies were arriving to check into their rooms for the night and it really did start to get a buzz about the place!

The pasta party that evening was great and something we would definitely be doing again next year. The conversations were flowing, ladies were chatting and meeting other ladies and it was so nice to see some ladies who had entered on their own make friendship groups and arrange to ride with them the next day. This was just what we had hoped for when we decided to do the sportive…..it is all about bringing ladies together and getting them out on their bikes, no pressure, no competitiveness just a group of ladies doing something amazing for charity together. It was a long day, fuelled by excitement and anticipation but the best was yet to come! We had the photographers on site on Saturday too capturing all the brilliant shots of the pre Event party and it was just a great evening!

Sunday morning was an early start, back at event HQ we had some ladies already up and about, probably too excited to sleep like us!!!

Breakfast was being served in the main hall, volunteers were arriving, feed stations were being manned and stocked, marhshals were taking their places, registration was buzzing and signage checks were underway it was all systems go! Our fabulous start line was almost ready which for those who came and took part in the event will know is the beautiful long driveway from the main road to the Activity centre, lined by trees it really did look amazing like any pro event we had been to ourselves! The flags and the All Terrain Cycle inflatable Arch made it all the more impressive!!!

So all we needed now was the riders! Registration was a hive of activity and the ladies began to filter towards the start line to get ready for their briefing. Music was about the site the whole day and really gave people a relaxed atmosphere. We even had a warm up courtesy of Helen Harris who Jude and Ali cycled through Tanzania with, to get the ladies fired up ready! Jude and I got ready ourselves with our bikes and made our way to the front, we were so excited at starting the event off it really was a sight to behold seeing all the hard work everyone had put in come together that morning! We had the Yorkshire Vet Julian Norton with Carlton Lodges executive director…….. waiting to open the event and set us off. And so with that off we went!

Jude and I went to the first roundabout and back on ourselves, we wanted to be back at HQ so didn’t ride the whole route. Interestingly enough this was one of our favourite moments of the day as we rode back we got to see all those smiling faces and cheering you ladies off which was just fabulous and quite emotional even as I type this! I would go as far as to say the whole day was quite emotional actually, we spent a few moments pinching ourselves and getting overcome with emotion especially when we took some time out to go to the start/finish line to give out some medals and cheer the ladies back in. To see all the smiling faces and ladies saying how much they enjoyed the whole event and how well organised it had been was in itself the best feeling and again one that brings me close to tears writing this.

We had great feedback about the routes, the venue and the medals which was much appreciated as we put a lot of thought into those medals! The vibe at HQ after the last of the riders arrived back was great, we made a concious decision that nothing would get packed away until we had the last rider back safely. It was so nice to see people still milling about the place long after they got back, ladies and their families chilling on the benches and bean bags listening to the music and just enjoying the atmosphere it was great!

I have to say the whole weekend seem to go by in a flash and we found ourselves on Monday ringing each other saying we both felt a bit deflated now it was over! It really was such a fabulous weekend we hope we can make it even better next year! The event itself was a huge success and we raised a massive £14,500 for Women V Cancer which is phenominal and for our first sportive we couldn’t have been happier.

We really couldn’t have done it without the support of our fabulous Yorkshire Lasses and their friends and family helping and volunteering. They really did make the event a special one! We have to mention Ali our fabulous events co ordinator who I have to say was the most calming influence that day, she went above and beyond for the event and we truly appreciate it. We also have to mention our long suffering husbands who were amazing with their route planning and signage, their support has been amazing and again we couldn’t have done it without them!

We will continue to show our support for Women V Cancer again next year and this wonderful network of ladies who entered our sportive on the back of Women V Cancer Ride the night and overseas challenges means this charity is is getting more funds to something that in some way has touched all our lives. Be that a friend or relative and Breast Cancer Care, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and Ovarian Cancer Action will all benefit from the money we raise. Still on the subject of thank you's for this years support. We have had so many fabulous companies offer help, donations and support in so many different ways this year it has been truly amazing and has meant we could put more money in the charity pot! We have listed them below so you can just see how many people came together to make it such a fabulous event. We have a few special mentions we would like to make as well.

Carlton Lodge Activity Centre have been amazing in letting us use the venue for the event. It really was the perfect place to host the event and the team at the Lodge were all fabulous and worked so hard to make it a success so we are very grateful to all the team from the management to cleaners and chef's, we couldn’t have done it without you all!

One of our main sponsors was Third Energy a gas exploration company who came in at the 11th hour and kindly sponsored our medals which meant again more money we could save and put to the charity, they also kindly donated each rider a goody bag which was very kind of them and completely unexpected so many thanks for all their support.

North Yorkshire Sport in Harrogate kindly paid for each riders insurance to British Cycling for us so this again was much appreciated. Their very kind donation paid for all the costs on rider insurance meaning we could use the money we would have had to pay to donate to the charity.

All Terrain Cycles in Wetherby, owner Tony Booth and his daughter Tasha Booth also kindly donated their time that day. Ladies who took part will have seen them about the start area, and around the course in the ATC vans helping with mechanicals.They also printed our goody bags for us and provided gels for the feed stations, chocolates for the goody bags and valuable equipment on the day. What they also did which probably only 2 riders knew about was to bring a van full of spare hire bikes! This was fantastic and meant for one lady who had a major mechanical which was beyond fixing at the event she could carry on and finish the ride. I felt like Santa when I jumped out of the van and produced a nice shiny road bike for her to take off on her way. She and her friend were over the moon and this was great for us knowing we had that back up should there be another major problem! Their support on the day was invaluable so thank you to All Terrain Cycles.

We also have to mention Women V Cancer and British Cycling who together helped us massively with signs and car park fencing, flags etc The amount of equipment required to put on an event like this is immense and we really would have struggled without their support!

The four feed station locations were all great supporters of the event and we also owe them a massive thank you for letting us use their facilities, Parklands in Yafforth, Mouseman Cafe in Kilburn, The Dutch House Cafe in Crayke, and Boroughbridge Football Club thank you to you all!

From the cakes to sausages, tea bags, milk, raffle prizes to portaloo’s ….the list really is endless we can’t thank people enough. We have listed all the kind supporters of the event in the sponsors section under the sportive info on this website, and would like to thank them all for their contribution to the event. It’s success is a direct result of peoples generosity and hard work.

We are very excited to have opened the entries now for the event next year which you can find by following this link Enter our 2017 Sportive . The charities chosen for next years events are all listed on the event, but in brief we have chosen;

Women V Cancer

We have chosen to support this charity again next year and this wonderful network of ladies who entered our sportive on the back of Women V Cancer Ride the night and overseas challenges means this charity is is getting more funds to something that in some way has touched all our lives be that a friend or relative and Breast Cancer Care, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and Ovarian Cancer Action will all benefit from the money we raise.

Carlton Lodge

Their Bursary fund help young people with special needs and people from deprived backgrounds access the facilities which they would not have been able to do without that money.

Yorkshire Air Ambulance

This is a very worthy charity souly funded by charity money and this fabulous service would seize to be able to operate if that funding stopped meaning lives would be lost unecessarily. 

All in all it was a huge challenge for a club of less than 18 months old to take on, and we are so grateful for everyones support and to the sun for making an appearance too! We were truly blown away by everyones support and success of the event, below are some comments from participants on our facebook page and we are excited to build on this for next year....watch this space!! 

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