Ride bikes. Have fun. Feel good.

South then North 600

Martin Malins writes

I thought I’d better complete another SR as my only previous 600km was a
relative doddle and I’ll need to do a hard one next year. An X event (ie no facilities en route)
with a £9 price tag, Hmmm.

I drove up to
Derby with Simon for a Travelodge. However not
finding it until 0100 and then getting woken up by revellers at 0300
did not make that a good idea.
0530 we drove to the start to find a
few Southern diehards. A late start for Simon and I and quite hard work
once we hit Rutland which makes up for small size with some big hills.

see some photos here

As an anorak it was nice to ride under Harringworth viaduct. The
outskirts of Huntingdon was the second petrol station stop (there is a
limit to how many flavoured Volvic waters and veggie pasties one can
stuff down in a weekend )
Then across the fens to Thorney for an info with quite a strong
headwind, which continued back to Colsterworth. Then a few lumps over
the Vale of Belvoir before heading towards
Alfreton. I managed to get lost in Annersley and thinking the Alfreton
was near Mansfield headed there; (it’s not ) and eventually had to ask
at the Mansfield Travelodge for directions.

Whizzed down the A38 where
I met Simon and the others; everything was shut so fished a receipt out
of a bin. A big climb up towards Sutton in Ashfield which was the wrong
way; so all the way back down and back up towards Mansfield for the
second time. By Mansfield Woodhouse at about midnight I’d had enough so
Simon and I bade farewell to William (my ride mate and life saver from
the Denmead 400 last year), and a few others and crashed out in a
wheatfield, setting the alarm on Simon’s mobile for 0445, me in a
moonbag and Simon in a bivvy. (William later told me that they had a fairly miserable time at Blyth slumped over tables in the restaurant)

I slept like a log but Simon was less
lucky. I awoke at 0500, with just over an hout to get to Blyth services
by closing time of the control. Simon made it with a minute to spare
along the mostly A614/A1; I found a suitable one in a bin in the
services. I
foolishly downed 2 bottles of Irn Bru which was to cause me severe
stomach ache all the way through Thorne to Selby. Cafe shut at Selby so
another painful and hungry 12km to Howden where a coach party had just
pitched up at the Red Beck ;-( (but a bit of pure Northern street
theatre nonetheless) . So another pasty/paper cup of coffee moment
outside the garage.

Then a fairly dull but very hot stretch along to
the Humber Bridge. They had an event on there (25th anniversary
apparently) and the whole town of Hull was there. The West path was
officially shut so I used the East; bad idea in all respects other than
getting someone to take my photo. Having cleared all the grockles it
was back West through Flixborough via more fizzy pop and Lucozade
sports shops (sorry but tepid water was not what was required).

Eventually I decided that a pint was called for; the first pub I called
at had about 7 other riders there including Simon; nice lager shandy
and two bottles of water. And on to Rosie’s cafe in real “Carry On
follow that camel” conditions; all that was missing was the cymbal
sound FX as I gazed up to the cruel sun; eyeing up every outside tap
along the way. Rosie’s was shut so had to do with another pasty/
Lucozade.

And then it started to get very lumpy through Retford and
Shirebrook back to Ripley; riders I thought had passed my ages back
started to re-appear. To his credit Alan the organiser had found a very
nice route back through the Dukeries avoiding almost all of the Dark
Satanic Mills.

Eventually it was the last long drag down on a horribly
surfaced road past Denby pottery into Derby, where I got completely
lost so ended up having to go back to the Travelodge up a big hill in
order to find the ring road. Simon had been there an hour, but we
waited for Dave Kahn who got in just before closing time; others
weren’t so lucky and Alan was still giving out directions over the
phone to the remaining riders as we left.

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