September 3, 2011, by Andrew Burden
The VC’s blog: JoGLE Day 8: Thirsk to Retford
It is just amazing to think we are now into the second week of this adventure. Only last Friday we were setting off from John O’Groats. Everyone obviously has niggles and strains of one form or another, but all remain cheerful and motivated.
We started with a photo shoot for the local paper at the Sue Ryder shop in Thirsk, then were on the road in a 3-6-2 formation. David W joined the Flying Squad, who were first off and arrived in Retford by 1530. (There may however be the first signs of fatigue; they evidently stopped in York to take a picture of the Minster).
Next off were Nick, Neville, Karen, Kate, Chris J and Steve. I had some sorting out to do and Andy held on to ride with me (the oldest and youngest JoGLE riders out as a pair for the first time). We made good progress and caught up with the core group at Boroughbridge. Since Kate was getting treatment on her ankles, Andy, Neville and I pressed on to Tadcaster, where we were due to meet my son Stuart and Al.
Andy and I were obviously careful in managing Neville anywhere near red lights, to avoid embarassment. That said, the Flying Squad omerta was broken and we learned there had been other red light infringements, including one in front of a fire station in Northallerton yesterday.
You smell Tadcaster long before you get there, such is the scale of the John Smith’s Brewery. Given its size and location it dominates the town in a quite overwhelming way. Stuart and Al were there to meet us. It was good to see them. After a brief stop at ‘The Tykes Café’ we left in a fast group (Andy, Nick, Steve, Neville, Stuart and Al) and a slower group (me, Karen, Kate and Chris J).
The route from Tadcaster to Retford runs through Selby, Thorne and Bawtry. It is a fairly featureless environment. That had an upside however, the terrain is pretty flat. So despite a persistent headwind, all groups made excellent progress and all were in Retford before 1800.
All are buoyant this evening, partly because we are back in Notts and our next destination is Sutton Bonington and partly because the accommodation is a big step up on some of the places we have stayed in recent days. It was also a pleasure to have Professor Jane Seymour, Director of the Sue Ryder Centre join us this evening. She will be riding tomorrow.
It was a largely mishap free day. Only one serious mechanical failure (Karen’s gears gave up); no punctures; and no falls from bikes. However, as you can see from today’s photo, Nick’s new stretching routine did not quite work out as expected.
We had further acts of spontaneous generosity at the bike shops in Tadcaster and Retford, where sales were discounted once the proprietors knew what we were riding for.
Tomorrow is a big day in the whole event: 20+ leg riders from across the University are joining us for Retford to Sutton Bonington; 80+ participants are on the Community Ride from University Park; and around 300 for the BBQ. Riders and the support team are looking forward to seeing family and friends (as well as a slightly later start and the shortest distance since Day 1).
82 miles clocked up today, taking our total to 612. It has been a memorable first week and a privilege to share the experience with such an impressive group of people.
September 2nd 2011