Day 12: Cambridge to Stevenage, 57 miles

Posted on: Thursday, 23 June 2011 by Toby Carroll in category Cycle ride

Just one more to go after this stage. As usual for flaming June and the longest day of the year we had a further dose of cloud and coolish conditions. We were well received at DS Smith’s Fordham site and met the cyclists, including an impressive contingent from Turners.

Rendez vous in Cambridge

Keith, who had recced the route, led the peleton out towards Newmarket and the team arrived in Cambridge to rendezvous with Turners truck which was being revealed to Cambridge's cyclists such that they could understand the HGV drivers view (excluding trailer).

Keith’s taking the lead in the first third of the ride told on him in the windy conditions and he retired to a supporting role after we left Cambridge.

Gordon’s lesson in clipped-in pedals

Cambridge proved a lesson to Gordon, FTAs cycling ambassador, who broke one of his cycling codes as we crossed Cambridge by leaning on a road sign which proved to be sprung - and over it went - as did our fearless campaigner. The cuts and bruises were more superficial than the deeply felt embarrassment.

Tandem power

Sue and William (riding tandem) found the early pace challenging, but once William (riding Pillion) woke up and took the bit between his teeth they sailed on and in fact after a breather and a steak sandwich at lunch they really cracked on to the end.

Mark had thought of all eventualities for the day and was on hand to marshal us throughout the day ensuring no-one got lost apart from yours truly a mile from the finish after I punctured.

We slowly crossed Cambridge (and the M11) before heading south towards our lunch stop at Barley. A puncture out the back afforded a brief break and Sean took the opportunity to have a nicotine fix… for which he would pay during the last 10 miles.

Picking up the pace

Once back on the road with a straight run down to Barley and our scheduled lunch stop, Stewart and Nikki decided to stretch legs and lungs and test the mettle of the riders. Content to sit on the wheel against a strong wind and rising ground Owen ran in to Barley in second place, fresh, smiling and relaxed-take your turn next time Owen - 14 year old legs are definitely a match for 58 year old ones… in defence he didn't know where we were going.

The long steady climb up the hill into Barley at 30 miles in softened up a few of the riders and lunch was enjoyable and a good time for recovery. But no one wanted to see the next hill straight after lunch!

Tail end Charlie

Ella and Keith competed for tail end Charlie and at one stage appeared to be competing in a hill walking competition. Both made it to Cert after 51 enjoyable miles where we tucked in to a pleasant buffet.

Next stop St Paul’s Cathedral…

See more pictures from day 12

Find out about FTA's Transaid Cycle Challenge

Day 12

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