Off I went at 6:45 Saturday morning, I was heading towards Sheffield train station. It was dark and you could see the glow over Sheffield as she started to wake up. The sky was clear with a few wispy cloud dancing around in the background. I was at the station in quick time at 7 am. It was busy with those arriving for a day of work and also those on their way around the UK for the weekend. Sometimes I catch the 7:29 to London but not this time.
I got my self a cup of tea and a Pain du Chocolate and patiently waited for the Northern Rail service to Lincoln. Someone at work told me that daily commuters call it the Northern Nail. I asked why and apparently I would know when I got on it.
So it was just after 7 and the Lincoln central on 1A was 7:30 and it was just after 7. Plenty of time to eat my croissant and British Rail tasting cup of tea. That names rings a bell and brings back memories of going on holidays with my mum and dad to Great Yarmouth on Golden Rail. They were the days of travel, hour up hour listening to clickerty clack clickerty clack of the tracks.
The train arrived and following the safety checks by the crew, on I and Charlie went for a journey to Lincoln. I now know why some call it the Northern Nail as the train to Great Yarmouth 35 years ago was more comfy, it looked like an 1970s bus and had a few train wheels attached.
I found a spot for charlie and secured her into position with a couple of provided straps and off we went.
it was a bit of a strange journey really with people looking at you as if you had 3 heads, not too sure if it was because I was taking a bike to Lincoln or something I was wearing. Maybe they were not happy as I was burning their eyes as I had my really bright day glow top on and they had forgot their sunglasses.
It seemed an age to get to Lincoln but then further I got and longer it took I did start feeling a little apprehensive. Started thinking what was I doing this for ? Will I actuely do it ?
I thought I best nip to the loo during my journey as there would be no stopping on the way back. The train left Saxilby and I knew I had 10 mins to go. I knew Charlie would be safe whilst the train was moving. Its so easy to steal a bike as you just ride off on it and you are not going to catch up running.
Of I went down the carriage and then I thought how is this going to work with the Bib shorts on ? Something the designers of Bib short obviously never thought about.
Off came the day glow and then off came my cycling jersey, got one arm out so I could lower half of the shorts to one side and bingo ! Leave the rest to your imagination. but just imagine if you are a girl.
All prepared I arrived at Lincoln Central and off I went on my bike. I set Strava running and also Glympse. Glympse is a useful APP as it allows Jo to track me and then when I have not moved for a some time she can send the 4th emergency service to find me !
I followed the A57 out of Lincoln but went straight ahead towards Gainsborough instead of the toll bridge towards Worksop. I started well and felt good the only problem I could see was the weather. It was predicted to have strong winds from the south. I initially thought this would help but of course when you look at a map of the British Isles it actually tilts a little and I was traveling east to west and the wind would be a pain not an assistant like I originally thought.
I stormed to Gainsborough, went past West Burton Power Station on my way (I am a frequent visitor), then I hit the A631 which took me from Gainsborough to Bawtry. I stopped for a couple of minutes to carry out some minor shoes adjustments before I was back on my way.
The wind was getting up and I had to slow down when I was going downhill as it would blow me all over the place and the last thing I needed was to be blown in to the path from the cars approaching me from behind. I never got full advantage of the down hill sections and struggled even more going up hill and more noticeable on the flat. I seemed to be putting more effort in to just keep my speed the same.
I soon hit Bawtry and I knew I was getting closure all the time. As the sign said welcome to Yorkshire !
Next up was Tickhill, that I had decided would be my little rest stop. I went through Tickhill and found a little sandwich shop where I had my late morning snack. A nice bacon sandwich and brown sauce. I am sure I deserved it after 30 plus miles of wind beating cycling. Here I Text Jo and she said I must be on fire and also I later learned when I got to Hellaby I had turned the Srava APP off.
Through Maltby, then Hellaby and up one of the biggest climbs of the route up to Bramley then Wickersley. To be fair the climb was nothing and I sailed up. The next section was down hill and the wind was back with vengeance so it was a slow descent and my legs had had enough by then. I had lost my energy and even going down hill was a chore. I limped through Rotherham, then Meadowhall and finally Sheffield city centre. The end was in sight, two more hills and I would be home. Somewhere that 4 hours early I thought I would be lucky to see without assistance.
I got home and was relieved and I had a cold bath, I don’t have baths normally but I thought a cold one would do me good ! Hopefully to assist in recovery, well that what Andy Murray says !
What have a learned form my first 50 mile trek.
- The wind can be your enemy !
- This challenge of London to Paris is not going to be easy and this just proves it !
- I am more scared of the challenge now
- Makes me more determined
- I averaged 14 MPH so that is a quicker pace than required so I could slow down and go longer !
- I can identify a decent bacon sandwich shop
- I know why they call it the Northern Nail
Its Sunday and I ache a little but not in pain. I feel zapped and lifeless a little zombie like, but I still had the energy to give Charlie a good old clean !