September 3, 2012, by David Greenaway

The VC’s Life Cycle 2 Blog: Day 10 – Lincoln to Nottingham

What a fabulous day. We knew it would be, but it was better than we could have hoped for.

The start was at Lincoln Cathedral, by a mile the most iconic start point of Life Cycle 2. It was a real thrill to see more than 50 leg riders preparing to take on the 54 miles to University Park. Conditions were ideal, warm and sunny with just a light breeze.

The leg riders set off 15 minutes before us. We left as a team, but once we were clear of the city broke up into a number of smaller groups, in my case with Chris J, Kate, Karen and Nick. It was nice to pick up leg riders en route and exchange a few words.

We took a short break at Langar, where Chris R’s family had prepared refreshments and his daughter Kirsty had baked some excellent Life Cycle biscuits, getting a perfect match for our Life Cycle logo.

Although we knew there would be food at University Park, it was unlikely there would be time to eat, so most of the team pulled in to Colston Bassett and had lunch at the Garden Café Restaurant. This had become a favourite for some of us on our Sunday morning training rides, so it was really nice to pull it in as part of Life Cycle 2.

Then a sprint to University Park, led by Chris R. We had to be there by three, so he set a pretty fast pace. Remarkably, by the time we reached Trent Embankment we had a snake of eleven riders, nine of the team plus Ahmad and David W (Penelope was riding the leg with her daughter Martha, Mike was riding with one of our sponsors and Neville had disappeared first thing). I really wished we had a photographer on the other side of the river for that one.

Our welcome at the Sports Centre was wonderful. It was really uplifting to see that so many family, friends and colleagues had turned out to welcome us. With all the stands and activities there was a real party atmosphere.

There were a lot of speeches to make, photo calls and interviews to do, but still some time for catch-ups. A couple of the riders even had a massage. (I am holding a fine picture of Nick on the table in case I need it).

Then it was all over. It seemed to pass in a flash. But for us it was as therapeutic as having taken a rest day. Everyone knows the job is not done. We have another 350 miles to get through over the next few days. But today has lifted us all and given us a second wind for the final legs.

A number of riders went home for the evening. I am staying in Cripps Hall with those who live outside Nottingham, and that includes Ahmad who is returning to his old Hall. It is very comfortable accommodation and we have been well looked after by the Hall Staff.

So now on to Team matters.

Let’s start with yellow jerseys. Some riders had clearly not checked the rules for today and failed to notice that since it was a special day, two yellow jerseys would be awarded: the usual one for first over the line at the end; and a second for the first rider to reach Long Benington ahead of the pink bell. Since Andy had the bell and is a strong rider, I knew this would be a tough one to win.

The bikers that brunch judged it to perfection. Riding in a perfectly formed peloton led by Kate and supported by me, Karen, Chris J and Nick, we cruised round the bend into Doddington as if we were in a velodrome, and stormed past Andy and Seb (his pace man for the day) while they were having a rest. It was only after the finishing line in Long Benington that they caught us. So, the first yellow jersey was won in dramatic fashion. Well done Kate.

In the leg competition, Neville was first to the Trent Building. It turns out he had left Lincoln first thing to do a tour of his estates in Nottinghamshire. Anyway, he was back, but unfortunately for him the finishing line was actually at the Sports Centre. Since I led the riders over the line, that’s a yellow jersey to me. My ambition before LC2 was to win two, so I am targeting a first to finish in Dover for my second one.

I am so moved by the Noyes family’s pleas that I will try and persuade the Support Team to give him a full pardon and let him ride without the pink bells. (Not sure about the chicken yet, it looks rather good perched on his handlebars).

Another suspicious event, a pair of my blue socks has disappeared. Since they are a perfect match for my cycling top, this is obviously just a straightforward attempt to disrupt my colour coordination. We will see if they turn up in a random search.

Team of the day: too many possible options here, but I will settle for the teams that organised such a memorable event at University Park.

Shock of the day: Steve insisted we cycled past the Forest ground on the way in to Nottingham. It meant quite a diversion, and as an avowed Leeds supporter, I am not sure why he wanted to go, but having missed the win against Charlton yesterday, I was happy to take the detour.

Quote of the day: goes to a Jagger, not Chris but his wife Pippa. She joined us for part of the leg and was cycling alongside Karen, who asked ‘how’s things Pippa?  ‘I’m enjoying the fresh air’ she replied. ‘Yes’ said Karen, ‘It’s a lovely day’. Pippa’s response was, ‘No, I mean at home’.

Speaking of Chris J, he has just take delivery of an iPhone to replace his Blackberry. That can only mean trouble.

An outstanding day topped off with a very nice dinner at The Wollaton hosted by Stuart Senior of Gleeds, one of our two key supporters.

In all of the excitement of meeting the leg riders at Lincoln Cathedral, calling in at Langar and Colson Bassett, snaking through familiar sights to University Park and receiving the welcome we did, we almost failed to notice that another 54 miles had been added to our total. That is now 755 miles.

Thank you to everyone for making yesterday so special and so memorable. We had a wonderful day.

Professor David Greenaway


Posted in Life Cycle 2