Wednesday, 13 May 2009

To Skeggy with Everyone

On Friday I decided that the lingering effects of the man-flu were insufficient to deter me from my first 300km Audax, so the alarm was set for ridiculous o'clock to get to Alfreton for the 6 a.m. start.

Perhaps I should have consulted Multimap, as I was the first to arrive in the chilly still-dusk, breezy morning.

All-in-all 50 (idiots) hardy souls started the event, leaving Alfreton into the rolling Nottinghamshire countryside, with the wind at their backs. This swiftly put paid to the "go slowly at the start" plan, as my average speed all the way to Skegness was almost 26kmh.

Even with a proper food stop at each control, I was still well up on schedule approaching Sutton-on-Sea. My self-congratulation was interrupted by a metallic "tink" from about 100 yards behind me, followed seconds later by a "Tok" and a golf ball sailed over my head, striking the road twice more as it passed up the highway, coming to rest in the long grass on the opposite side of the road. Not so much as a "Fore", but I consoled myself with the fact that the golfer must have then played "3 off the tee" with his first effort significantly out of bounds, and no felled cyclist as compensation.

GPS delivered me to the info control at Sutton with no directional mishap, but then the ride really started. Leaving Sutton, and the protection of the buildings, the South-Westerly wind hit with a vengeance. 140km to go, and the wind not scheduled to let up until early evening. Horrifying.

Horncastle came and went, and Lincoln eventually appeared on the horizon, it's cathedral dominating the landscape from the only significant hill for miles. Unfortunately, my GPS wasn't best programmed in Lincoln, and I took a closer look at the hill than most, missing the left turn at the bottom.

After a little faff at the final garage control, I was just leaving as 3 gentlemen appeared, with a "we'll see you later" look on their faces. I left the control, still head-down into the wind, knowing that they would soon be setting off after me. After what seemed like hours of grinding along, the route finally left the main road, and about this time, the wind finally dropped. The lower gears of the Kinesis lent themselves to spinning uphill, and the kilometers gradually wound down.

The last 2 km were a blast, but at 9:45pm it was pitch black, and I'm not sure that 66kmh downhill in the dark (even with good lights) is necessarily safe or sensible.

Either ways, I arrived back in Alfreton at 9:45, for a ride time (elapsed) of 15:45, 13:11 of which was actually on the bike, for an average speed of 22.9kmh, way in excess of my expected speed, and 2:20 ahead of my anticipated finish.

As I was loading the bike into the car, the three guys arrived, having left the garage 5 minutes after me, and being 7 minutes behind at the finish. Result.

Perhaps I'm not going so badly after all, but I just looked at my times and speeds for the Etape du Dales (coming up again this weekend) and I can't believe how fast I went (albeit for a bronze) last year. Hard work coming up methinks.

7/12 RTTY and still counting.

1 comment:

the E.Port Sloth said...

The lack of a 'fore' shout could be due to one of two reasons:
1. The sight of a walrus on a bicycle rendered the golfer dumbstruck
2. They were aiming for you!