I really wasn’t expecting many people, any people to turn up. The temperature was just above zero and those bed covers were so warm! But a fair number were there when I got to the Cricket Club. The Blue riders were Tricia Kril, John Knott, Graham Varga and Martin Crapper.
We let the two Red groups set off first and slowly made our way to the gate and then to Sunderland Street having to wait for cars in both places. Could it get worse?
Well Yes it could. My Wahoo decided not to talk to me - we’ll time and heart rate we’re showing but nothing else. So we stopped before the Buttercross so I could kick it. And that didn’t work so we carried on regardless. Good job I knew where I was going!
Half way up Malpass Hill we turned left and head towards Styrrup stopping en route to deliver another kick to you know what. That and restarting it seemed to work. Heart rate normal, elevation where it should be, gradient zero, temperature 2 degrees, couldn’t be better! Ok I have a twisted sense of humour if I have one at all.
We were heading in a roundabout way for Serlby, so we entered through Styrrup, turned at the community centre, went straight over the lights (they were green) passed the industrial estate and turned right for a nice freewheel down the hill. I think the junction before you get onto the Serlby estate is where the highways agency deposits unwanted pot holes. We had plenty of time to admire them as there was a lot of heavy traffic on the main ride.
I admit that in conversation I had mentioned that there was a danger to cyclists of black ice and that a 20 ton lorry bouncing about on the bumpy road could be a bit dodgy but I wasn’t trying to deter anyone I was explaining that there was pleasure in overcoming them. Honest!
The road passed the golf course and on to Scrooby Top is always a pleasure and for its length we were able to cycle in pairs and chat. For most of the remainder of the ride it was to remain like that.
We went right and through Ranskill along to Torworth before turning to go past Daneshill Lakes and then right passed Sutton and across the main road to queue at the level crossing. Fortunately there was only one train and it wasn’t long in coming because it was cold and we weren’t for hanging about. Then along passed Babworth where we paused to get over the main road, and then along Mansfield Road to the A1 roundabout.
It was here that we saw the first of the signs saying that there was an event at Clumber Park! We cycled down Limetree Avenue, one of the bumpiest roads of the ride wondering what we were going to find. Firstly we found not everyone was in a christmassy mood. The guy in the transit with a horse box pin the back almost took out Graham and Tricia and then me. That is the closest I have ever been to joining the compost on the road side. Nice and clear on video so will get reported. We carried on and found a Christmas Market, lots of candies, tents and Marquees but not as many people as I feared at Clumber central.
We walked through the walled market to find the Red fast bubble had just arrived ahead of us and made the queue for coffee before us. We didn’t mind and found a table not far from them. Having finished our drinks and food we were about to set off when the Red comfort bubble arrived and they were able to take our table as others were all full.
As we had arrived in the park I hadn’t taken much notice of the arrangements - cars were using both entrance gates to enter. And a little later a sign and guide were directing “traffic” to the car park somewhere behind a tree on the left. We had told him we were not traffic and went straight on! Going out of course we were faced with two lanes of traffic coming towards us. Dodging was required - the cars seemed to play the same game so we were OK. But at the entrance gates we had to drive down the middle of the two stationary queues of cars which was a bit more difficult.
Once through the road was clear and we headed straight ahead Through the Arch (eventually) on to Ollerton Road and then left down Sparken Hill. Don’t be misled by a guy laid flat on a recumbent - its full aero in disguise. We caught him up though just before we reached the cinema complex and headed through Worksop and on towards home in a roundabout kind of way. We turned right at the Cannon (it will always be the cannon). and followed Thievesdale Road through to Blyth Road. Somehow still following John, the guy on the recumbent bike, we turned left along hundred acre lane into Carlton. Not much traffic and we paused more out of habit that necessity as we reached the A60 and turned right. We had a clear run into Langold up to the traffic lights and after a brief wait at the red lights we headed north. there was a bit more excitement as we decided to go flat out down Malpass Hill (following John again!). And then a nice easy journey back into Tickhill and the Cricket Club.