Back in February I wrote about the Yaxley Riders Reliability Trial,  “One Year On – Reliability Trial 2016“.  It was my first repeat event and I felt rather pleased with my progress.  The Hunstanton Fish & Chip ride was my next ‘one year on’ repeat ride and again, it went well!

We met up in Cathedral Square with all the other Peterborough based riders, early morning for a 7 AM roll out.  There were plenty of riders there but we were also due to be met by others at various stages of the ride; Wisbech, Kings Lynn etc.  This year Wayne who organises the ride had really pulled out the stops and had even laid on a support car to take extra bags that people preferred not to carry.  As for me, I’d much rather be self-sufficient so I had my saddle bag attached and my toptube bag present and full of energy snacks.

Posing in Cathedral Square ready for the day ahead

Posing in Cathedral Square ready for the day ahead

Overall there were 84 riders once we’d been joined by the extras. Obviously we didn’t ride as one big peloton as these weren’t closed roads! So during the day I found myself riding in differing groups depending on my relative pace and who I happened to head off amongst after one of the scheduled stops.

The first scheduled stop was Starbucks in Wisbech but unfortunately this was one that I missed. The group I was riding in had an unscheduled stop for a puncture a few miles short and 3 inner tubes and a new tyre later, even our group TT efforts couldn’t get us back on track in time for coffee and a bacon bap. However missing the Starbucks stop did give us just enough time to get back on schedule.  We also got a sixth place on a Strava KOM during our efforts!

Puncture - everyone chips in

Puncture – everyone chips in

From there we pushed on toward the final destination of Hunstanton and the awaiting deep fried fuel.  This came later than expected however, a slight detour from the expected route by the group I was riding in took us further round than we’d intended.  So after clocking up a few extra miles and stopping for extra supplies from the village shop in Great Massingham we arrived and had a much welcome rest along with our fish & chips.

The green in Hunstanton

The green in Hunstanton

After a toilet stop and resupply of water we left Hunstanton sooner than I’d have liked; but then I did arrive later than many others due to the detour.  At this point with a belly full of fish, chips & coke I had hoped for a relatively gentle pace but the riders I headed off with seemed to have other ideas.  As such I dropped off the back of the group while passing through Sandringham knowing that I’d be able to blend into the next group down the road.  This worked quite nicely and we rode as a group onward toward Kings Lynn.  It was just prior to reaching Kings Lynn that I again heard the call of ‘puncture’ go up and so we came to a halt for a repair.  This time an approaching ice cream van ensured that the team’s efforts were distributed a little differently.

Refuelling and cooling down

Refuelling and cooling down

It took a while but I reached the next scheduled stop at Kings Lynn; again a little late but at least with enough time to pick up some more supplies from the filling station.  This was the last of the scheduled stops and so I took the opportunity to rejoin my usual group and dug in for the haul to the finish.  Feeling more ‘on the pace’ at this point there was no more ‘dropping off’ and fortunately no more need to stop for mechanical issues either.  And so it didn’t take too long to return to Cathedral Square and acquire a very welcome pint of Brahma lager sat outside Chimichanga’s.

The beer that cost a small fortune

The beer that cost a small fortune

At the beginning of this post I mentioned that this was my 2nd repeat event; so I suppose I ought to finish off with some comparisons of this year to last year and general thoughts on what I’d do differently.  First off, next year I’ll buy the beer elsewhere in Cathedral Square as Chimicanga is way too expensive for drinks; I think the only place where I’ve paid more was in St Marks’s Square in Venice!  Beyond that it all went really well, I finished with sufficient left in my legs to ride home at a good pace and I know I could have gone further if I needed to.  Wayne managed to organise even better weather than last year, with the afternoon pushing up into the high 20s; in fact I certainly can’t complain about the organisation in any way!  We had a support car, a photographer, the lot – put up a few signs and call it a sportive! (The first two photos are courtesy of SJ Photography).

Last year I struggled at the end and I think I had underestimated the amount of fuel that a person needs to do such a long distance in one stint.  This time I had museli for breakfast before leaving home, fish and chips for lunch, three bottles of energy drink, six SIS gels, an ice cream (“single scoop waffle cone with a flake, please”), four Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Chewy Marshmallow Squares, two Kelloggs Raisin Breakfast Bakes and of course the beer.  I still had a recovery shake and dinner when I got home and even after all of this the following morning I weighed in slightly down on the previous day.  And most importantly, like last year, I loved every moment of the day.  It’s great to be out on my bike with friends; especially when the sun is out too.