On the 12th January the Tea Gardens Cycle Crew, the TGCC were in for a treat. The crew knew they were in for a 100 mile bike ride what they didn’t know was I had thrown in a fair few hills along the way – what’s a bike ride without hills?
This was also my first opportunity of the month to do a 200km DIY mandatory ride for my RRTY (Randonneur Round the Year) effort in 2019 – so I was riding solo before and after the ride to “bump” up the ride an additional 40km.
After warming up around town with 15-20 miles or so I met up with Simon, John and Dieter – soon leaving Waltham around 10.
Tempered by a strong South-Westerly we started out in the general direction of Lincoln, my route would take the group through along a less familiar road as we descended quickly down into Stainton-le-Vale and slowly up the other side – why make it too easy?
Before long we were riding with Market Rasen racecourse on our left and welcoming our first cafe stop at Wickenby Airfield, no-one had been here before myself which was a little surprising – but we all agreed we’d be back again here soon!
Before we could reach the Lincoln Water Railway we had to navigate through The Barlings. As expected the strong wind proved difficult for a short while – soon however we changed direction with wind on our tails for a (very) brief moment. A quick hop over Five Mile Bridge we were on the Water Railway heading up toward Lincoln. Coming off at Washingborough station we did a short loop before arriving back on the Water Railway heading towards Bardney; this was also the first point at which we had the wind behind us much to the satisfaction of all of us.
Stopping in Bardney at The Open Door cafe we all enjoyed coffee and lunch before returning to the road heading directly East towards Baumber just outside Horncastle.
I had been promoting the next two challenging climbs throughout the day, these were Tetford and Ruckland Hill; I did however conveniently forget to tell them about the climb into the small village of Fulletby muhahaha. For a while I did fall back here somewhat after realising I probably didn’t eat enough back in Bardney and these negative thoughts continued as I/we crawled up both of those hills. At the Ruckland climb I got into a bit of a flap with changing gears and hand to put my foot down, resorting to turning the pedals with my hands and then remounting. Pusing myself off again on a gradient that was easily over 10% was not at all pleasant – but strangely satisfying too!
From there it was much easier and we soon reached Little Cawthorpe, riding alongside the small stream, a few minutes later racing towards the traffic lights at Manby.
At this the junction I left the group; I had to stick to my DIY route! I also took this opportuity to nip inside Co-op, grabbing a few items and stuffing them into any remaining centimetres of my backpockets.
The wind was to prove to be in no-ones favour, despite “disbanding” we were all in for a hellish ride back home. I was struggling on alone from Skidbrooke with absolutely nowhere to hide at all (typical of the Lincolnshire coastal area) and the guys were heading their own painful route back towards Grimsby with barely a hedgerow in sight.
Eventually I reached the outskirts of Tetney and paused for a moment, contemplating cutting the ride short at one moment, I decided instead to “just get the job done”. At Grainsby farm I felt close to bonking, stuffing the last remaining morsels of what was left in my back pockets into my gob. My inadequate waterproof jacket flapping around in the wind refusing to zip up and feeling cold was motivation enough to keep moving.
Still heading into that damn wind for a little longer I was in for something of a surprise between Waltham and Laceby – that wind was suddenly behind me! Before you know it I was flying my way through Bradley Woods and the streets of Grimsby. Now completely sheltered by the wind I rolled home a little, shall I say, fatigued.