Monday, 13 May 2013

Lincoln Grand Prix Sportive

Ever since I entered this ride I have been looking forward to it and especially the final climb to the finish line up the cobbled street of Michaelgate to the Castle Square. This infamous 1 in 6 climb also forms an integral part of the annual pro race the Lincoln Grand Prix, where pros race 102 miles or 13 laps of just under eight miles. For the record Sundays pro race was won by Olympic gold medallist and Team Sky rider Peter Kennaugh who rode under the colours of Team Isle of Man.

Sadly I’m not (and never will be) to that standard, so like the rest of us mortals I entered the sportive to get a ‘taste’ of what the pros experience. I was not disappointed and this final climb was without doubt the highlight of the ride.

The sportive was on Saturday May 11th and started at Yarborough Leisure centre in Lincoln, I did the 75 mile route which headed out West into the Lincolnshire Wolds then returned back to the city for ‘that’ climb. The ride out to the first feed station at Tetford was very enjoyable with a tail wind making progress easy, don’t be fooled into thinking Lincolnshire is completely flat the Wolds although not significantly high are very undulating and after a few decent climbs and descents which the legs knew about I reached the second feed station in Donnington on Bain. From here I headed back to Lincoln into a strong Westerly wind which made progress tough for the final 30 miles and noticeably much slower than the first 45 miles, also the number of cyclists increased as the 55 and 75 mile routes combined for this final section. A quick stop at the top of Scampton Hill to scan my timing chip, this sending a text message to my family telling them I would be 20 minutes away, a great idea which meant your family / supporters would not miss out seeing you on the Michaelgate climb.

With the finish looming I found some extra energy and passed a numbers of fellow riders on the final push into Lincoln and before I knew it I was being directed down Spring Hill to the start of the Michaelgate climb…… with the correct gear selected I rose out the saddle and pushed up the hill, the cobbles shaking every bone in my body and as I was ascending I couldn’t help but think what is this doing to my bike!! The street became crammed with tourists and fellow rider’s supporters and family members this created a wonderful atmosphere and being cheered on up the hill by hundreds of people felt great meaning my legs didn’t even notice the previous 75 miles. I climbed the initial steep section comfortably and soon overtook a number of riders who were ahead of me then as I turned the corner and the gradient eased I heard ‘Daddy’ looking to my left I saw my youngest daughter I slowed down to wave at her and soak up the atmosphere and cross the line with her running along close to me beaming from cheek to cheek, this really made my day and will live long in my memory.

Below is my Strava ride detail.

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