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Sunday, 22 June 2014

Great Nottinghamshire Bike Ride

Today it’s the Great Nottinghamshire Bike Ride and I pedal off at just after 6:30am to head for the start of my 100 miler. L will follow on the 50 a little later.

I queue up at the start on the Victoria Embankment and I’m away at 7:35 in glorious sunshine. So different to the wet conditions of last year. It’s a popular ride and it’s no problem finding a large group to tag along with. This enables me to bomb along and bypass the first three feed stations, which are mainly for the shorter routes anyway. I finally stop at Car Colston after 41 miles purely because I have run out of fluid although most of the group I’m with carry on. They’re hardy souls or perhaps it’s because they’re carrying two drinks bottles each to my one. They probably won’t stop until the first of the free feed stations at Norwell after 62 miles. All the feeds on the shorter rides charge but as I found out Hi-Five energy drink and gels are free even here. It’s took me only 2:06 to get here, so I’m flying.

The organisers should be commended for taking notice of people's opinions last year. Well I assume it was everyone’s opinions and not just mine. As well as the free Hi-Five and the two free feeds on the 100, as we head out on the extra loop of the 100 we find mile markers out on the full course as well as on the 50. They are nowhere near accurate, some are over two miles out, but at least they’re there.

With my group having headed off to Norwell without me, I get down on the aerobars and time trial my way there. When I arrive having taken 3:18 to do 62 miles, well up even on my Outlaw Half pace, it is to find the most awesome cake selection. I text L to tell her but she just reckons I’m trying to tempt her over to the deep dark side of 100 mile cycling. Well I reckon this lot is well worth the 15 or so mile detour off her route, particularly with the cups of tea thrown in.

I make the last stop at Wellow at 75 miles in 4:03, traditionally the best but now, after Cake City Norwell, it’s a bit of an anticlimax. I still grab a sandwich, another tea and a slice of cake.

I set off on the last bit. It’s all downhill from her apparently but they always say that and they’re always lying. Problem is I’m now so full of cake I can hardly pedal.

L texts to say she’s finished the 50 and has set a PB by 51 minutes and says ‘Bring it on’. Blimey, she cheerful.

As I get to the end, I find that somehow the organisers have also solved the problem that is Adbolton Lane. They’ve filled the potholes in, not with tarmac but with grit yet it’s still a vast improvement.

I complete the 103 miles (?) in 5:41, that’s my first time under 6 hours having pretty much raced the whole distance. Very pleased with that.

The 100 mile ride has again proved to be pretty fantastic. The only improvements you could possibly now make are to introduce chip timing and bike numbers rather than body numbers. Only about half the 100 field wore their numbers on the front, as this is so impractical and it must drive the photographers’ nuts.

Nottingham already has the best triathlons in the country (Outlaw/Outlaw Half), now I think we have the best Sportive. I wonder if the organisers could sort the Half Marathon out for us to complete the set.

Back in the event village Castle Rock have a bar in what looks like an old burger van. With the dogs (hopefully) being entertained at home by Daughter we have a couple of Saddle Sores. Only 3.4% but not bad.

Later, after dispatching Daughter to Sheffield by train we head for a few pints at the Horse and Jockey in Stapleford before visiting the Cinnamon Indian. The Cinnamon is ok but nothing special.

(Sunday 22nd June)

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