Everybody rides to Skegness – 2 days later

A late report, though not due to anything catastrophic, just wanting to enjoy a day out with my fiancee to make up for abandoning her for an entire day on saturday (Thank you Sharlotte :))

Possibly not the best start to the ride was going to the pub on Friday till about 11, then having to get up at 3 to let S into the flat as we had a key fob problem (which will reappear later on in this story) and then staggering bleary eyed out of bed at 04:30 to suffer a sink wash as our shower’s broken atm.

Drive over to Alfreton was reasonably quick and easy. Reassembling the bike took a couple of goes as I spent ages trying to sort out a rubbing front brake block, only to realise that in fact it was a rubbing front mudguard, easily fixed with some brute ignorance in the end.

Wandered over to sign in, was nice to be able to recognise some faces from Three Fields and Roses to Wrags, and was nice to be recognised by the organiser from a stop at Rosies as well. Made sure to fortify myself with some tea and biscuits. Then back outside to pointlessly adjust things and fidget until the off.

At 6 we set off, with everyone deviating from the route immediately to take the path down from Alreton house to the road. Rolled out through South Normanton in a large group and dropped down through Pinxton and then out through Kirby-in-Ashfield. Was great to do this in reverse having had it as the end of the previous 2 Alfreton routes I’d done, where it’s a not hugely welcome grind back up to Arrivee. Managed to end up my own from here to Newark, which wasn’t too bad as I could take my own time on the 12% climb at Oxton and saviour the swoop into Southwell. Got pinched back into a group by the level crossing on the way into Newark so got to Gannet’s in the middle of a huge queue so decided to just grab a stamp and head on to the next checkpoint.

Heading out across the rolling lincolnshire fens was really nice and peaceful at that time of morning. Didn’t really see anyone at all on this stretch apart from 2 fast riders who went past at a rate of knots and the gent who I caught as we came into Woohall Spa. Dorrits Cafe was a welcome break and I polished off a generous fried egg sandwhich and a can of coke. Slightly shocked to check the time on my brevet card and find I’d done 100k in 3:40, which is a little quick by my standards.

The weather had picked up so decided it was time to cast off the arm warmers and slather on the sun cream (factor 50!). Would have loved to have taken off the leg warmers off as well, but the dhb shorts I was wearing seem to finish too far up the thigh to be decent (post ride I’ve discovered that the insert is coming unstitched, so they’ll be back off to wiggle in short order, very lucky that didn’t cause any problems on the ride). The only navigational error of the ride was made on the next section as I found myself plonked on the the A155 at revesby. So had a slog up the main roads to rejoin the route at Spilsby. Luckily for me a strong rider on fixed had also been navigationally challenged so I got pulled along at a fair rate of knots. He also informed me that the real audax wierdoes appear at the 400km marker, so that’s something else to look forward to in may :).

Quick cake and water stop at Poppys Cafe, which is about as close as we got to Skegness proper. Nice pootle along the back lanes to Sutton-On-Sea with 2 gentlemen from Huddersfield. Stopped at SoS for an omlette and milkshake, and unfortunately didn’t fancy the wander across to see the sea, really should have. Also missed most of this route on the GPS as it had turned off at Poppys, and I’d assumed that turning it back on would restart the tracking, which it didn’t. It was routing fine so I’d thought it was fine. Oh well, another Garmin Edge oddity learnt about.

It was starting to get a bit windier and colder now, so back on with the arm warmers. The route started to get a bit lumpier around here. Stopped for a bit of a breather, and then had to work a bit harder to catch up with the small group heading into Horncastle. Free control at horncastle so I just went to the CoOp for some sugar,salt,water and a receipt, which apparently took 40 minutes. In hindsight I should have probably had a proper break and stopped at a cafe.

The next section to Lincoln started off with some nice climbs and then onto flat B roads. Hot foot set in, so I had a quick 5 minute stop in Bardney to sit on a bench and air out my feet which seems to relieve the pain quite nicely. Spent most of the next flat bit into Lincoln chasing a guy on a recumbent trike, but with a bit of headwind I think he had the advantage. Eventually caught him on the outskits of Lincoln as the guys from huddersfield caught back up as well. Nice route through Lincoln, though there was some confusion about where the cycle paths were. Another Open control so we went to the CoOp, the rest of the big bunch decided to go to the Sainsbury’s for the cafe instead.

From here back to Alfreton was all a bit A-Roady, but riding in company meant it went by at a reasonable pace. But just after tuxford on an uphill stretch the pace really got to me and I fell off the back of the little group. Deciding that there was a chance of things going pear shaped I stopped at the side of the road for about 10-15 minutes for a drink, sugary food and another foot rub. Also that length of time meant I knew there was no hope of catching back to the group, so wouldn’t bother trying, and resolved to just pootle back to the end at my own pace. The strategy. appeared to work as I started to feel more human passing through Edwinstowe and Sutton-In-Ashfield. Trying to find the bridge/tunnel over/under the M1 formed into a little group of 3 with the recumbent triker and another gentleman which stuck together all the way to the finish.

Finished in just a shade under 15 hours, so smack in the middle of the timings there. Which is what I’d set out to do. But I’d pushed to make sure of that time as I was worried about the afore-mentioned key fob which I’d had to take to get the car off the drive in the morning, but which S would need to use to get back into the flat after 10 after visiting friends, so I was worried about not being too late back to Nottingham because of that. As it was I was back with her and the friends for 10 lookingly longingly at a beer that I couldn’t have as someone still had to drive home :(.

Drank and ate more than on previous audaxes which did help. But I need to make sure I have a proper rest at controls rather than stand around drinking sugar. Kit wise everything worked fine. The only things I’d like to sort out for next time are some shorts that are a bit longer and a better way of holding the external battery for the Garmin Edge (this experiment was successful, but did involve some cable dangling). So that’s not a huge amount to work on before the Moors and Wolds 400 in 5 weeks time. Though I think I want to find some way of carry an extra top, and maybe a pair of bib tights for the overnight section. Thinking about an ortlieb roll tap bag and the attaching it to the top of the Caradice Barley or the bottom of it’s bagman support.

Finally seem to have cracked the routing with the Edge as well. The one problem I had was down to me not paying attention properly and blithely carrying on without noticing the problem. The ability to jump between the Garmin maps and Open Streetmap was great, don’t think it would have been as easy to get through Lincoln without that due to the cyclepaths. Slightly annoyed by not getting a trace from Poppys to SoS as that set of roads isn’t on OSM at all, so was hoping to edit that in this week, though I can at least have a go at sorting out the cycle path bit back in South Normanton.

(should be an iframe above pointing to http://connect.garmin.com/activity/79750487)

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