It all started a few months ago when Chris Morgan got all enthusiastic about the London-Cambridge bike ride. While planning that he also came up with the idea that we should do the Oxford-Cambridge ride in October. It sounded like a crazy idea at the time but after the London-Cambridge bike ride which was very enjoyable we all got very excited and decided to enter. We wanted to encourage as many people as possible to join in. That was the start of the Red Gate Cycling Club. We mainly met during weekends to do predefined long rides as training for the event. We ordered some Red Gate team jerseys as further encouragement. Our quite large and enthusiastic group (12) shrunk a little (5 + 1) as the Big Day was coming. Those who remained kept a close eye on the weather forecast: heavy rain all day.
We aimed for an early start (lessons learnt during the London-Cambridge ride) which was sabotaged by those turning up half an hour later than they should have (you know who you are!) but fortunately we still managed to avoid heavy traffic.
The trip was quite a challenge. Ben, though trying really hard, was unfortunately disadvantaged by a slightly heavier bike and struggled to keep up. James lost his bottle and as he stopped to pick it up he forgot to clip out and fell over and got an open wound on his palm. Ben decided that he wouldn’t be able to keep up and bravely opted to go all the way by himself. Mel lost his chain at the end of a very fast slope, with fortunately no injuries. I was taking advantage of being about 10kg less than the next thinnest person in the team and got ahead. I lost my lead when I decided to wait for the others and in the meantime have a bathroom break at one of the service points 50 miles in. Unfortunately Mel went past while I was in but Chris and James caught up with me. We continued together. We faced no further difficulties on the way to Cambridge – if we forget about getting briefly lost and having to go on the A6. Our efforts to re-join the office route left us cycling up Deadman’s Hill in the rain and the wind – a national speed limit dual carriageway. Needless to say, we were very happy to arrive and see our warm jackets again. We heard nothing from Ben until about 5pm. It turned out that he got a puncture, had to wait for an hour and a half for service, his phone broke down, then shortly after being fixed he got a puncture again.
Post by: Reka Burmeister