Sunday, 10 June 2007

Day one

Nottingham - Northampton - 107 km

I guess I always knew that today was going to involve taking a right hammering somewhere. The somewhere turned out to be in the gap between the end of the 1:50000 map and the beginning of the OS quarter inch "South-East England" on the drags of the B road that runs from Melton Mowbray to Market Harborough.

Anyway, it went more or less like this: after setting off from the Old Market Square at 10:43 prompt, with Patrick on his bike and Dan on the trailer, we did the prologue stage (back) to West Bridgford with reasonable comfort. Dan even pushed a bit but mostly stuck to giving instructions. With the first 4 km out of the way the trailer was summarily detached, and after a short delay for the usual procrastination and dithering, I headed south in company with Patrick up the backroads through Tollerton, Keyworth, Widmerpool and Willoughby, where Patrick encountered the hunger knock demon. However, by that time we'd done most of the pre-lunch climbing so he managed to ride through it to our predetermined lunch spot at Kirby something or other, just outside Melton, about 30-something kilometres covered.

Shelagh came out to take Patrick home, and after an enchilada of uncertain digestibility I said goodbye for the duration and set out across to the aforementioned Melton-Market Harborough road, where I pondered an alternative route.

However, lofty ambitions are one thing; within a mile or so I had lowered my horizons to getting to the top of the next rise. And not long after that it was more along the lines of the next tree or field gateway. There's a lot of false flat on that road, so it felt as though I was going even worse than I actually was (which was bad enough anyway). After a very slow hour or so the general lie of the land eased enough that I started feeling merely fairly crap, rather than absolutely awful, and I stopped for a coffee in Church Langton and dropped into Market Harborough. Stopped at a Spar on the outskirts for provisions including an unwise ice cream and to commiserate with the bloke there about what a shit job he had, and then headed on ther A508-avoiding route via East Langton (where the proper climb was a lot easier to cope with than that false flat earlier) and the battlefield of Naseby, which is being grockled up tastfully. I duly noted that Prince Rupert's viewpoint over the battlefield left a great deal to be desired in terms of dead ground, and that Fairfax's was rather superior, if a bit close to the A14.
From Naseby village I veritably flew down the descents and ambled painfully up the remaining small rises to the outskirts of Northampton, where I realised I couldn't find my carefully prepared map to chez Boxo. After a little use of modern technology, I was pointed in the right direction and duly arrived, to be looked after extremely handsomely, for which I am extremely grateful. And now I'm going to bed.


Paul de Man said...

You write well, dude. Did you make it to your mum's today? Let us know. Boo to forced flat (which I had always until know thought was false flat) and yay to hospitality.

I handed in the dissertation today. Please say more about the various battlefields you may or not pass.

Take care.

Kevin said...

Great write up... but the reality of life on the open road does not sound as "romantic" as I had envisioned. Didn't expect the "questionable enchilada"...

107 km is quite a slog for the first day. Have a good second one!