It was a rare weekend for me, normally when it gets to the middle of Autumn I rarely venture out to marshal due to rugby commitments, but this weekend I decided to pull on my orange overalls and head to Oulton Park for the last car meeting of the year.
The meeting seemed to have a relaxed atmosphere, but with a touch of sadness as people knew this would be one of their last chances to don the orange before 2017. CSCC however, lifted this air of sadness with a great line up of racing and they even showed off the £1 million Triumph TR4 SLR . The day turned out to be a good round off to the season at Oulton Park and wasn’t too stressful on anyone. Even the pull off that we had at the end of the day at Water Tower could have been a lot worse, but with a glancing brush of the armco then a neat bit of parking, meant our recovery could be done in a matter of seconds.
The trip to Oulton Park did mean I could get my bike serviced ready for the big bike ride, and with the 50 mile route that followed, I’m glad it was serviced then! At first the 50 mile route did seem a little daunting, especially after a full day of marshalling. But the thought that ran through my head was that it could be worse; like I have to do a long day of cyling for this ride, roughly 94 miles, then get up the following day and do another 93 miles. So it really could be worse.
Fueled up on pre-workout, a yoghurt, some protein granola and a glass of orange juice, I set off with Darren on this long training ride. It was more about saddle time than tackling the hills this week, but that didn’t mean it was going to be easy. In fact, after the first bit of road and canal tow path, we went off road and got our bodies going through the shock and harsh reality of what it will be like to cycle in tough conditions.
Within a few minutes of starting our ride the rain came streaming down, meaning I had to quickly ditch my sunglasses so that I could still see, but it also made the dirt tracks we were taking, into mud paths. It turns out the back end of a bike really can get sliding around when the grip goes missing, a scary thought when I’m running thick mountain bike tyres.
The ride took us along old railway lines that were shut due to Dr Beeching’s Report, across locks that were once busy with the traffic on the Manchester Ship Canal, alongside picturesque canal tow paths, through Dunham Massey village and a quiet lap of Tatton Park. The change of scenery helped to push us through the long ride and the change in surface certainly kept us on our toes. Whilst the change in condition got us ready for the ride in November, I have a feeling the rain will be a lot colder.
Fast forward two days and to Tuesday night. I was out on my bike again, this time doing a ride at night to test out my new lights and to keep the training ticking over. The good news was that the cheap light I have on the front of my bike is like a miniature version of the sun, but the route that we took, which was a similar version of the one we did on Sunday, is a tricky route to negotiate at night and almost had me in the canal. Fortunately for everyone, but mainly me, I didn’t end up in the water and I was able to complete the ride.
With just 20 days until the start of the ride, no doubt the training will get tougher and the conditions will start becoming more similar to that which we are expecting on our ride. However, there is a huge factor that you can play a part in and that is to help us smash our target for raising money. So please, if you want to donate a little bit of money to this great cause then follow the link below.
Written By – Robert Lee (@RobLee559 – Twitter/Instagram)