On Saturday morning at 5.30 I was amongst a group of about 70 local cyclists heading out from The Blue Bell car park in Stoney Stanton. With a real mix of experience and a wide range of ages we were all heading on our annual trip to Skegness.
morning and its good to chat with people you don’t usually ride with. But this year went slightly differently. After a couple of miles I was chatting to a guy I met a few weeks ago who had raised over £1100 for charity by doing the ride, then I looked up the road and saw a group of about 8 people had already started taking things seriously. At the back of the group was the flashing rear light of Dickies bike. So, regrettably, I decided the social ride would have to wait and got my head down to join the front group. It took me another couple of miles to get on to the wheel and that effort was an unwelcome leg burner, but we settled in to a good pace heading in to Leicester.
down Skegness High Street well before 11am which was earlier than ever before. After a quick loop of the Clock Tower (because it looks good on the GPS) it wasn’t long before Mrs G and the kids arrived while Dickie and I were enjoying a pint in Wolfies Wine Bar.
Just as I had started to wonder when it would arrive, I got an email from Terry at Simpson magazine telling me of a short delay. When he knew I wanted to show it off after riding to Skegness this weekend, I got an email straight back to tell me he had arranged a special delivery for today and wishing me a good ride tomorrow.
A personal touch and a great recovery from a little blip means I now feel like I have had a brilliant service and am already a fan of the magazine despite having only read their blog!
The top is now safely packed in the car for Mrs G to bring over to Skeggy and I’m looking forward to posing about in it during the Cup Final tomorrow afternoon.
When I got home this evening, I had a choice to make. Sit down eat the sweet ‘n’ sour pork stir fry that Mrs G had made and play with two tired kids, or dash about the house trying to find my kit (that was still strewn all over the place after the weekends triathlon) and make a quick 15 minute turn around to go and meet on our cross roads for a ride. Sometimes I make good choices. Tonight I made a bad choice and got the bike out.
Turning up late never goes down well and my 15 minute turn around had actually taken more like 25. A group of lads had already gone on ahead and just two of us remained. It didn’t take long for us to catch everyone up with the wind behind us, and we arrived at Mallory Park in good time. After a quick chat and paying our £2 we set off on the lap to find an annoying head wind all the way down the start and finish straight. By the time we hit the hairpin for the first time it was raining and after just one flying lap I was soaked through and put my rain coat on 5 minutes too late for it to keep me warm or dry. Then, after a busy day at work forgetting to drink, I got cramp in my calf.
Only a couple of laps later and the lure of a hot shower and my sweet ‘n’ sour pork won. My mate Dickie and I moaned all the way home and trundled along at an uncharacteristically slow
pace. My eyes were stinging because the rain was washing all the crap (it’s not crap, it’s Dax) out of my hair and in to my eyes, my feet were cold and I couldn’t see out of my glasses. I couldn’t even put my specs on my helmet in a way that looked cool. They were lopsided. And the end of the arm hurt my head. My nose was running and I was nearly drowning in snot.
There were no consolation prizes today. It was windy, wet, cold and slow. I’ve enjoyed my hot shower and my sweet ‘n’ sour pork. And now I am enjoying a glass of red wine whilst ranting on here. There were plenty of people still at Mallory Park when we left and we passed a few more cyclists on the way home. Let’s face it, they must be more dedicated than me and I must be a fair weather cyclist.
What better thing to doing a Bank Holiday Sunday than swim, bike and run around Nottinghamshire in the Southwell sprint triathlon?
Last week we heard that Mallory Park, the race circuit near where I live, opened its gates to cyclists on a Wednesday night so we went down to take a look tonight.
From 6pm half of the circuit is open to everyone while the other half is used for teaching/training kids. By 7 the whole circuit is open for you to pelt around as fast as you can. It’s about 1.3 miles around the lap, the record is 2:35ish and I got nowhere near that!
On the face of things, riding around a lap for an hour doesn’t sound that appealing, but adding in the mixture of a fantastic road surface, no cars, a reasonable amount of undulation and a few mates to pit yourself against and it soon turns in to your very own race circuit. As I write this post, my legs are gently aching so I know I’ve had a good work out.
What fascinated me was the activities going on in the pit lane. A number of adults were coaching kids on bikes ranging from little ones with stabilisers through to pre-teen sized road bikes. It looked like a straightforward bike handling set up using cones and plenty of supervision and I think it is coordinated by the Leicester Forest East Cycling Club. Probably worth a look for a cycling family?
- Don’t turn up too early if you haven’t got the kids with you
- Bomb it around the top hairpin because the camber keeps you turning
- The start/finish line for Strava laps is the white line on the straight, not the bridge as I thought until I got home!
- Take a £2 coin … the fella at the gates is going to run out of change for fivers one day!