Mike ‘Lofty’ Lofts quickly volunteered to lead the vanguard and scout the route ahead, muttering something about there being no way he was going to spend over 9 hours in the saddle…A fine plan was scuppered when he became navigationally-challenged and ended up cycling an extra 11 miles, although his extensive Int training ensured that he did 400ft less climbing than everyone else.
The rest of the Inzpire team set off at a blistering pace, led out by Paul ‘Flash’ Bolton who unfortunately was pipped to the 1st and 2nd stage wins by excellent last minute springing on the part of JP and Dan. Flash decided enough was enough and accelerated away from the pack to ensure an overall win and to allow him time to complete the ride home from the event because as he pointed out ‘111 miles is barely worth getting out of bed for’!
The mantra of “look after your kit and it will look after you” clearly went over the heads of both myself and Jonny ‘JP’ Priest. I spent the first leg unable to use the bottom 10 gears of my bike, but I was able to gain the advantage of free bike maintenance which ensured that I had the low gears available to match my low overall speed. JP pulled the equivalent of a cycling ‘hammy’ by breaking his chain with 15 miles left to the finish, which we suspect was his cunning plan for providing a clear excuse not to finish and head home for an early bath! Unfortunately, this was thwarted by Dan Simmons and his plethora of bike-related gadgetry which included a bike chain repair kit.
Mentions in Dispatches have to go to the core of the team; Tin Brooks, Jess Wood and Rich Havercroft. Tin hadn’t ridden in anything quite like this event before, but she came off a finely devised 12-week training plan and never looked anything other than completely comfortable on the whole route. Jess won the prize for best looking bike and although was initially concerned with her ability to stay on it, had only one incident of near disaster when she almost fell off departing a feed station at nearly zero speed. Rich sacrificed a great time on his ride when he supported myself in the last 30 miles and led me home through a period of cramping brought on by any form of incline; Rich proved himself to be a true legend and the best wingman ever. The team went on to complete the ride in a little over 9 hours with Rich and myself coming in about 15 minutes later.
We survived an almost incomprehensible series of peleton hand signals which regularly caused extreme breaking or swerving to avoid non-existent potholes, cars, pedestrians or the the cyclist in front scratching their back…
We survived the best efforts of the course designer who devised a route where the last 20 miles of cycling involved climbing and descending no less than 10 hills.
We survived because/in spite of Dan’s gadgetry, which included an electronic device to provide a warning of cars approaching from behind. Flash said this was excessive and he found a mirror on his handlebars more than adequate for the job, whereas the rest of the team had to rely on looking over their shoulder. As Dan says, why bother using your eyes when you can pay top dollar for a device to do that sort of menial task for you..?
Overall the Inzpire team have raise over £1,400 towards a total of £18,000 raised by the 100 riders involved in the RAFA100 Rutland Ride, and a huge vote of thanks goes to all our family, friends and Inzpire colleagues for their generous sponsorship.
Now where is that heat rub?