August 27, 2016, by David Greenaway

Nottingham Life Cycle 6 – Day 8 Lincoln to Thirsk

This is my final Life Cycle, and there have been some rather nice touch points between this and the very first Life Cycle five years ago.

For example, on Day 1 we stayed at the Victoria Travelodge near Bodmin, which is where we stayed on the final night of the inaugural Life Cycle.

Tonight we are staying at the Golden Fleece Hotel in Thirsk, where we also stayed on Life Cycle 1. I remember it well. Two nights before we had stayed in the worst hotel imaginable in Berwick, the morning after I had a fall, ground it out to Gateshead where I checked in to the Travelodge not knowing whether I would be riding next day. I did, and the Golden Fleece felt like an oasis. And it was also Day 8.

Today we passed the halfway mark in both miles and days. It’s amazing to think just last Friday we set off from Lizard Point.

It was another 100 miler. For the first (and last) time in my life I have cycled three consecutive days of 100 miles. And now I think about it, I’m pretty pleased, but very heavy legged, and very glad we do not have the same distance tomorrow.

Pic 1 - Team Steve at breakFirst out this morning were Doug, Peter and Andrew Leyshon; followed by Andy, Susan, Kerry and Fraser. Then came Steve, Marion, Sara, Stefano and John; and finally Nick, Karen, Kate and me.

Conditions were bright and very blustery as we climbed to the top of the outcrop on which Lincoln sits and headed north.

Pic 2 - Standing BreakDespite the wind, it was good riding and we all pressed on to Crowle as the first stop, at around 35 miles. Our second breakfast was takeaways from the local bakery, eaten in the village square.

That first stretch was nice riding, surprisingly undulating and through attractive Lincolnshire villages. The second stage was a big contrast, 15 miles across windswept flat terrain, into headwinds and the smell of rotting turnips. But, by the time we got beyond Howden the environment had changed again to lovely East Riding towns and villages.

Pic 3 - Teams Andy and SteveWe all continued to make excellent progress in dry, if windy conditions. The other groups lunched in Sutton upon Derwent south east of York. We just took fluids there and pressed on to Strensall, so as to leave us just 22 miles for the final section.

Gavin had again done a great job with the route planning. The only time we were on major roads (apart from the final three miles on the A19) was when we crossed them.

The last 22 miles were very undulating, and very pretty. As we rounded a corner at Carlton Husthwaite we were rewarded with a magnificent view of the Hambleton Hills and south escarpment of the North Yorkshire Moors, complete with White Horse near the top. That gave us a lift to push through the final six miles.

Pic 5 - Team Nick Pic 4 - Kerry

Pic 6 - Team Nick Golden Fleece ThirskWe arrived at 1815, and everyone else was in. A great effort for a 100 mile day.

Now on to some team matters, starting with a few random things.

Over breakfast Sara told me that her extended family in Sweden have been reading the blog, and would like to know more about the rules of Mornington Crescent. Good luck Sara.

Kerry has just completed her second day, and was so tired she brushed her teeth with Savlon. Well at least they are unlikely to itch Kerry.

Our dinner at the Golden Fleece was in a private room. It was a warm evening and the windows were open. Two local ladies on a night out looked in the window to have a chat, and asked if we were a Tinder Group!

Now on to the Megomnium. I start with good news. Thirsk races are on, so some of our riders could not get access to the race course and repeat the Newmarket fiasco.

Today’s competition was the full leg road race. This goes to the team with the best time from Lincoln to Thirsk. But it is very complicated. The Stewards collect all the data on actual ride time and time spent off the bike. (It is important to give proper weight to the latter, to ensure riders do not skimp on eating and drinking).

Doug’s team had the best time. But in Peter and Andrew he had two strong guest riders. You are allowed one guest in any team, but not two, because they then become classed as pace makers. So, Doug was out.

After reviewing the data, the Stewards declared a dead heat between Andy’s Team (Andy, Susan Kerry and Fraser) and Nick’s Team (Nick, Karen, Kate and me) [Pic . They also explained that under the Barrett – Jagger rules Nick’s Team could claim victory because of a better gender balance and age distribution.

But, being the kind of people they are, Nick’s Team declined this, so a dead heat is recorded with 10 points each to Andy, Susan, Kerry, Nick, Karen, Kate and me. Since Karen was also smart enough to play a joker, she and Nick received 20 points each, with David and Kate sticking on 10. Seems unfair to us, but rules are rules.

Once the Stewards have finalised a points allocation for Kerry, and completed their investigations into Dr John, I will publish an updated leaderboard. It is getting close.

I have two nice quotes from today.

First, when we stopped at Crowle, a group of lads on scooters aged around 10 came over and said ‘Mister, I like your bikes they are really great’. I thanked them, and one responded ‘Yeah, real sick’. I think it was a further compliment.

At the same location, I told Karen that sharp pains in my right knee woke me before 0400, and prevented me from getting back to sleep. ‘That’s ‘cos you’ve been cycling’ was her response. Karen, thank you for allowing me to benefit from your 20+ years of clinical experience.

We have quite a number of Life Cycle miles nominees today. They are Doug’s Sister and Aunt (nominated by Doug); Jackie and Mavis Hamill (nominated by Jackie); Sally Woodward (nominated by Kate); and Tracey Nemerin (nominated by Kerry). It is our privilege to ride for you all.

We have now cycled 722 miles, and tomorrow we head for Hexham.

Funds raised were just under £510,000 yesterday, but we have received a major boost with a £25,000 donation from an alumnus who wants to help us make a difference. That takes us to almost £535,000.

Professor Sir David Greenaway

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