The great Notts B*ke ride 2007

I’d planned to do this (well the “18” miler more about that later) with some friends, but then life in general interposed and there was weather and excuses and pie.

But I woke up early enough on sunday and I had a nice new cycling shirt to try out, so why not eh ? I got my mini pump and presta/schrader adaptor, puncture kit and water bladder together & quickly made sure there was 110psi in the road razor’s tyre and hustled with my cycling companion to the car.

On our way down to Holme peirrpont the heavens opened, a proper 5 minute cloudburst, that didn’t bode at all well really oh well. We got parked up, dispensed saftey pins to random people who hadn’t thought through the instruction to affix your rider number to yourself or your machine and made our way to the start (to a lively chorus of “you’ve lost a wheel/half/bit”) where we were filtered into the holding area whilst the 50 milers (next year) finished starting (this is a large event with 3 rides 50/18/7 miles and about 5,000 riders) and we snuck to the front (after our experience at the LRF ride I wanted to get away in the first group & to not have to muck around). It was looking good till they let a whole bunch of scouts in front of us (some excuse about a centinary or some such).

Being right near the front meant we got to hear the Councillor witter on about cycling in Nottingham & the big wheel initative & other inanities, but it also meant I acheived my first goal of being in the no. 1 starting group. A quick massed count down & we were away, alongside the rowing lake that features quite heavily in mikefule’s write ups. The geese had made a nice poo based slalom course for us and a couple of the greylags thought it would be amusing to be mobile gates, still no problem there. The ride turned off up a little hill (time to pass those two wheelers) and down into adenbrooks lane.

Which turned out to be not a lane at all but some kind of Somme reenactment area, picking a line through this on the razor was not a great deal of fun & the sheer weight of riders meant that I was soon unable to take the necessary action.
UPD I missed the puddle & so did the razor, a few metres on and UPD. Bugger this for a game of soldiers and I jogged the remaining 100 or so metres of the lane to remount on something you could call a surface.

From there it was out into the villages and the long grind (apparently according to some) up shelford hill at the top I was warned that the steep (downward) left hander was slippy. I started down, I wished for a brake, two wheelers flew by, my quads began to complain, I wished for a brake. I got to the bottom without incident and the first refreshment point hove into view. We decided we were fine & would carry on thank you.

Quite soon we came upto Gunthorpe bridge, which the police were doing traffic control duty on. I’d been adjusting my speed whenever I came up on a marshalling point to try & avoid stopping and that stratergy was working well, only this time I thought I’d misjudged it horribely. And I would have if it weren’t for the officers of the law how with huge grins held the traffic that bit longer so I could complete the bride section. I was ontop of the world. the ride was going great, the rain was a light drizzle & the temprature was lovely.

Before long we were riding (on a track/road) through cornfields and heading towards the banks of the Trent, it was about 2/3rd through and the first of the 50 milers began to pass us, these were serious cyclists (they must have been putting out 20+mph rides) and they were overwhelmingly positive.

Just after this came the first (and most annoying) car incident. They were hanging in my blind spot so I waved them on & moved in. Nothing. This went on for a good km or so before they eventually got by (they probably thought they were being safe, they were WRONG).

The 2nd major refreshment stop was just there…

…and we rode on by ! The decision had been made 18 miles non-stop would we make it ? I had no idea, hell 90mins ago I’d been worrying it’d might turn into a 15 mile walk with unicycle, but it sounded pretty exciting 18 miles non-stop.

The route planners then played a mean mean trick and showed us the back of the finishing area, unfortunately we were about 10km away from the actual line, and my mind was quickly consumed with the task of trying to keep the Razor upright through the wet mud of colwick park race-course. At this point a note of thanks must go to both mike (for choosing) and Continental for supplying the ultragatorskin tyre the razor is shod with. It performs magnificently well in a role the designers probbaly never imagined. Back to the pesky route planners and it was that joy of every distance event I’ve taken part in, the industrial estate, these soul sapping places always turn up at the most mentally challenging bit of any event, just to provide an extra turn of the screw.

Harsh as I thought the park was I had no idea what I was about to be faced with.

Colwick business park. Roundabouts, DIY Superstores,Traffic. Another car incident, don’t those cage bound morons realise 300mm is not enough room to pass a cyclist (of anykind) ? I guess not. By now I was getting tired and my cycling undies were causing a certain amount of friction in my most manly places. I was having to stand on the pedals and preform “adjustments” more frequently than was polite. The traffic was scary and I was no longer on great form. Then I saw the police waving me through a red light, grinning. Not only that it lead to a coned off closed to traffic section (ladybay bridge south!). A cyclist drew along side “Man thats awsome can I get a photograph ?”
“umm yeah sure” He quickly got his digicam out snapped a few shots & rode away.

Its a bit of a blur of suburban streets from here to the finish, the stand outs being managing to judge a couple of sets of traffic lights perfectly one of which took us across the A52.

We were back into the park the finish really had to be close, acouple of the marshalls seemed amazed I’d made it. I had to take it easy going down toward the end of the rowing lake (big hill,rain,sleeping policemen) but then it was a flat sprint to the line. I put my head down & went for it I wanted to finish. I heared some clapping, it got louder apparently people stood up (I was busy not binning it at this point) . I crossed the line and turned into the finish area hopped off & grabbed my goody bag. Before I had chance to do anything a bunch of the 50 milers came over to shake my hand (I was suprised by this, thanks guys).

A quick muffin and free sports massage and it was time to load up the car and head home just as the rain started to really come down.

Distance 33.45km
time 2:10:32
Avg speed 13.67km/h
Max speed 21.98km/h

Now my cycle computer is quite accurate (or has appeared to be in the past) but 33.45km is c21miles not 18 even allowing for a bit of fiddling at the start that seems a lot of extra miles to me.

So Mike the 50 miler to newark next year ?

Hey, great write up. I’m glad you had a good bikethon too.

Great write-up and well done.
Was this on Cathy’s old uni?

No its one of mikefule’s old unis
the road razor

Well done. Of course, the Road Razor knew the route, because it had done it before, although not on the organised ride. Down Shelford hill is quite a challenge. The bit through Stoke Bardolph Estate (gritty tracks through cornfields, and then the narrow tarmac strip with cattle grids) is a regular ride of mine too.

On the whole, I am (probably too) cynical about these organised events. On that day, I just wanted a ride on my own, and there were hundreds of unfit incompetent people on over-designed mountian bikes doing the “three pushes in high gear then coast and wobble” routine just where I wanted to be. I saw one young woman riding with her waterproofs rolled up in her hand, and no saddle bag or rucksack - and 18 miles to go.

But I suppose they get the couch potatoes off their couches for a bit.

Doing it on a unicycle, of course, is a subversive act, and to be commended. :sunglasses:

That Gatorskin tyre is a joy to ride. I might even put one on the Bacon Slicer. It’ll be heavier and fatter (28mm instead of 23mm) but it has a lovely profile for steering.

Glad someone had a good uni ride starting at the Water Sports that day. :wink:

Or perhaps they were just enjoying watching the man on the unicycle. It happens.

Beautiful write up, BTW. Close to Mikefule standards.