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The Destination
The Destination

The Day of the Bike Ride

By: Ian Blakemore
Date: 31/08/2008

SATURDAY morning arrived, the night previous had not allowed me much sleep due to it being a muggy night and everyone seemed intent on not letting me sleep much to my annoyance. Why do drunkards have to make so much noise at 2am?

The alarm went off at 5.15 am. It was horrible waking up at that time, it felt inhumane to wake me up at such an unearthly time! I took my time getting out of my pit and ventured downstairs to eat a small packet of cut apple and to drink 3 glasses of water.

My best friend had kindly let me stay at his, and I had arranged to bike to Blundell Park with my old chum The BP Vicar. I trundled to his house and was greeted with spaghetti and toast for breakfast...not a bad start to the day. I quickly gulfed it down then to the start of the ride we headed.

It was an amusing start as someone's inflated front bike tyre decided to burst, which sounded more like a gun shot and nearly gave several people heart attacks. There was a buzz of excitement along with a feeling of nervousness around Blundell Park car park.

We set off in 3 groups. I raced ahead and did a David Cameron (passed a red light at a pelican as nobody was on it). I was like Louis Hamilton as I roared down Grimsby Road then onto Old Clee Road as I headed to Holton Le Clay. I was setting the world record for land speed by a cycle, I must have reached 200mph. OK I lie but reached a steady speed of 15mph which was a good beginning.

We had a brief stop at The Jug and Bottle and then headed towards the Wolds.

Now let me tell you people seem to think Lincolnshire is flat, yes 90% is but that small bit of hilliness makes a difficult bike ride, I'd go up one hill hoping to be the last, only to see more in the horizon, hoping that the next sight would be one of rolling flatness for miles beyond, oh one could dream!

See many people think flat countryside is boring, this is so wrong, flat is good, flat means no hills, which means constant steady speed, with no gear changes and no aching calf or thigh muscles and a lot less pain in the bum too.

We met up with the Lincoln riders and then we set off into the Blue Yonder and onwards to see the Mighty Mariners. Phil,Josh and several healthier riders raced ahead like greyhounds chasing a rabbit. I happily trundled on at my steady Marinerian speed.

The best part was seeing Lincoln Cathedral on the horizon, but this was soon met with a feeling of heartbreak to realise I was still miles away, so close but so far! It looked as If I could touch the damn building!

I then had trouble finding the Lord Tennyson, the pesky little locals thought it was funny to send me and a fellow Mariner the wrong way, several times adding minutes to the journey.

Eventually I reached the watering hole, the place I like best, yes the pub, somewhere I could refuel with plenty of calories in my one of my five fruit portions a day, yes that is correct a pint of Strongbow.

Everyone arrived to claps of joy and delight, people shook hands both Mariners and Imps mingled like old friends, with witty banter and support for the sense of achievement.

John Fenty and Lincoln Chairman Steff Wright turned up, talking to both sets of fans, both were happy and relaxed and chatted openly about the disappointing starts both clubs had made to the new season.

The call of 'Food is ready' sounded across the pub car park, as a rush to the table of chips and sausages took place, very generous of the landlord to give us a nice free meal, and was appreciated by all!

Then it was time for the final leg of the ride, down the hill across the dual carriage way and into Sincil Bank. Both John Fenty and Steff Wright led the way as both sets of fans raced down the hill, like F1 cars out of the starting positions, rubber could be smelt in the air as the tyres passed across the road surface.

Both sets of fans sang, The Town fans much louder with 'MARINERS MARINERS MARINERS' echoing around Lincoln City centre. Onlookers looked in shock and amazement of 47 riders steaming down a hill is something you see during The Tour De France not in deepest Lincolnshire!

Speed cameras flashed and again I passed through another red light, I think it was my 6th in total and we finally got to the ground, receiving applause and cheers from the Lincoln and Town fans that had gathered.

It was a truly amazing day, one I was very scared about, but one I enjoyed even when it hurt. I am proud to have taken part. Both sets of supporters were fantastic and a real credit to the clubs, the day was humorous but all in aid of a serious raise money for three great charities to help against cancer and the pain it causes!

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