Sunday, 19 February 2012
64 Miles with only papier maché for help.
I did say, so don't say you weren't warned. I said for two quid it won't be waymarked. And I was right, today's Beds Road reliability trial was 'old skool' i.e you've got to rely on yourself to get around.
Luckily I didn't have to rely on my ability alone to get around, I had Adam with me. I just have to say that giving Adam a map while he is riding a bike is like injecting him with something you should only administer to a race horse. With Adam in seventh heaven I struggled a little to keep up. So at about 20'ish miles and somewhere near Harlington we parted company.
What followed after that was a nightmare. Not having a clue as to where I was and needing to go, combined with the need to don reading glasses at every other turn to read my soggy half eaten route map meant I might be out for a while!
However as luck would have it, I got caught by a fast moving group of six riders. Definitely not an opportunity to be missed, I jumped onto the last wheel and within a mile or so I felt much better.
With two roadmen in our group both happy to work all day I wondered if we might catch Adam up again. Also in our group were some locals. So the now half eaten paper route guide could be shoved somewhere.
Now big ringing it in formation I thought I would only finish minutes behind Adam. We pushed on, the roadmen leading and route instructions coming from behind. We passed some places I recognized but don't know the names of, with the exception of Streatly and Cranfield. We even tore round a part of the old Cranfield road race circuit which was a bit of a buzz. Now three hours in I was in my element, and convinced that I'd now catch Adam just as he wheeled his bike into the event HQ.
The final hill, known locally as 'maggot hill' was the only obstacle facing us on our return to HQ. And upon reaching the top you are greeted by the sight of Cardingtons two famous airship hangers in the near distance. Though once down, the wind kept one last treat in store for us. A strong headwind which we took on as if we were leading out Cavendish to the finish in Paris. Then swinging out of the headwind you are back.
Once inside the old clubhouse I see by the clock that the huge effort has only returned a time of four hours, which is very disappointing. And Adam has finished a staggering twenty five minutes ahead of me.
Then whilst drinking the free tea. Tom, Stuart and Richard arrive having also done a three and a half hour ride. Then it's the turn of Craig and Rob to arrive and they've also done a three and a half hour ride. Heavens knows how fast that route would be if it was waymarked?
Still 64 miles in four hours with a fast dissolving map for company isn't too bad.
Hats off to the fast boys.