|'Eleven' on the Easter Trail|
Good Friday didn’t turn out to be quite as good as the name suggested. Good Friday started really quite bad in fact. I left my dwelling at early doors with the plan of cycling over to Jamie’s to collect him and Toll for the awesome ‘Easter Trail’ event to York. This event was supposed to be a long distance cycle to York following some slightly unusual audax rules. Anyways, moments after leaving, I had to turn back. For starters I had forgotten my helmet and worse still, I could not get my gears to shift. There was nowt wrong with my gears, however, the dry bag attached to my front harness had prevented the shifters from shifting. Returned home.
Once back at home, I emptied some contents from my front bar bag (spare shorts and buff) and rolled it up tighter. The whole harness is a menace to initially set right with all the buckles and straps. Further menace was the fact that I had to tighten and untighten mudguard bolts too. After about an hour later than planned, I was all reset to start my adventure with a working bike and suitably packed bags. SJ made me a pancake when I returned home too so felt great for the re-start.
The Easter trail followed a route that I had created and the second control was or should have been Burton upon Trent. Before getting to the control, I had obviously collected Jamie and Toll and we proceeded to cycle much towpath. The paths were great initially and stretched for miles. However, the further we cycled the poorer the towpath got. Decent path turned into quagmire and our energy was sapping. Things got worse when I punctured.
Must have been close to 6 a.m. when we decided to get up and pack up. Brr, it was cold (was cold all night and close to freezing) and wearing already wet clothes and shoes was not much fun. We spotted a McDonalds just over the road and figured we’d have breakfast and talk battle plans.
|Easter Trail DNF|
Great plan! Wet ride to Sheffield it was. Damn blast, no trains with bike spaces available once we got there. No bother (much), we decided to cycle to Chesterfield and try our luck with the trains there.
Wet cycling along much busy A road finally took us to a train station. Chesterfield was a winning stop, we could board a train to Derby. Once at Derby, our good fortune continued, we could board another train to University. University was ‘end of the line’ for Jamie and Toll. For me, another train on the same line took me to Redditch. A short cycle from Redditch took me back home to my family. They were surprised to see me return so quick.
All in all, a great week. So, I cycled less than predicted and did not complete an audax event. However, I cycled some, experienced tough conditions and wild camped rural style. I shared an adventure with some of the UK’s finest audaxers (cheers Jamie and Toll). I had a great Easter with my family. And, to finish the weekend in Style, was able to sup on some JD Tennessee Fire (big thanks Rob) and reflect on my experience.