9:00 Club ride to Cleethorpes.

Riders: Hayley Squires, Mark Badger, Martin Bowdler, Mick Abbiss, Adrian Shores, Malcolm Betts, Stephen Grieg, Karl Davies, Rob Drohan, Andy Birdsall, John Musgrove, Martin Bagshaw.

A long day planned in the saddle today so arranged for an early start at 07:30 and surprisingly everyone was on time including Mick! So it was that 12 riders set out in glorious sunshine for a trip to Cleethorpes and while it was a little windy spirits were high as left Tickhill.

The first 20 miles were on familiar roads and passed without incident other than when I was gasping for a drink after climbing to the top of Gringley only to find I’d left both water bottle in the car! As usual a team mate came to the rescue as Rob offered me one of his bottles. “It’s not water it’s my own salty mix” he warned before I took the first swig which wasn’t as dodgy as it sounded and got me to Cleethorpes without dehydrating.

After a brief toilet stop at Trent Port Pub we crossed the river into Gainsborough and said good bye to Andy B who was doubling back to the Doncaster Cycle Fest races. Now on more unfamiliar roads the peloton formed up dutifully behind the ride leader keen not to repeat previous navigational issues experienced on previous rides although when we turned off Laughton lane to head to Blyton a light hearted “wouldn’t have gone this way” was muttered from behind.

Passing the famous ice cream outlet which was still closed we turned right onto the B1205 which was to be our route for the next 28 miles through little villages and open countryside on quiet roads until we reached Nettleton. The route up to this point was relatively flat with the only challenge being the wind which was picking up a little but didn’t cause a problem, that was to change later in the ride but more on that later.

After Nettleton the route became a bit more bumpy as we puffed and panted up Mansgate hill into the Lincolnshire Wolds. We had a brief delay while Martin fixed a puncture, usually a 5 minute job made a little longer as he was on his vintage Cassati with tubeless tyres but the delay allowed for some to water bushes, fuel to be consumed and Hayley to adjust her wardrobe.

Back together we pressed on with only a few more “Martin miles” to the seaside and some fish & chips. The country roads and villages continued until we rode through millionaire’s road that is Barnoldby Le Beck where the roads got a little busier as we approached Cleethorpes. 

We arrive at our destination of The Leaking Boot fish & chip shop and while the staff watched us through the window and got more chips on the go we held a team meeting and decided to try Oliver’s just up the road instead. You could hear the boos from the Leaking Boot as we rode away but Oliver’s was a really nice alternative and sitting outside in the sun we enjoyed fish & chips, Quiche & chips, omelettes etc with coffee and tea. Water bottles refilled it was time to get the show back on the road for the return journey.

Rob left us at this point opting to catch the train home due other commitments in the afternoon, a wise decision we were to find out as soon as we turned right to leave the sea front and head back in land. The “breeze” that accompanied us on the way out had turned into a wall of a head wind for the return leg. With no option but to get on the drops and suck it up we battled on everyone trying to hold the wheel in front for some protection against the relentless energy sapping wind.

Buffeted and battered we made slow progress and had multiple stops to re-form as some (me) found the going harder and harder as the miles ticked by. It was Winston Churchill who said, “if you’re going through hell, keep going” which was sound advice as while it seemed we would never get home we eventually reached the outskirts of Gainsborough having passed on the Blyton ice cream in favour of a more sheltered route through Laughton Forest.

Having stopped at Trent Port on the way out it was a relief to stop there again on the return journey for a rest, toilet stop, some drinks and a rest. Drinks consumed ranged from coffee, coke, lime & soda and a couple of beers! We really are a bunch of athletes, did I mention we had a rest at Trent Port as well?. Only 20 miles from Tickhill now the run in was just the end of a normal club route but was still a challenge due to the wind and depleted energy levels and Gringley hill seemed to be a little bit higher and steeper than I remembered it last time.

With Gringley out of the way it really was just a matter of ticking last few miles off as we rolled into Tickhill as a group and got a bewildered passer by to take the “after” photograph. A great ride with some great riders although we may be off the Leaking Boot’s Christmas card list.

Chapeaux:  

Riders who logged their biggest rides

All for getting home in “blustery” conditions