A few weeks ago, Adam informed me of a ride around Donington park. With Adam being a huge MotoGP fan, this ride was a must for him. It was £15 entry for over 16s, but since it was all for charity, we had no problem in paying.
We arranged to meet around 12 miles away from the track, then ride there together. Track opening time was at 5.30, and we planned to get there for around 5.
The ride to the circuit was horrible. Headwind ALL the way, and it was just not enjoyable. By the time we got to the circuit, our legs were already half dead. All the lights went against us, and I mean ALL. We then had an abnormal amount of idiots in cars, with 3 beeping us. I also hit a huge pothole, meaning my handlebars came loose since I was putting all my weight on them at the time. My front wheel also isn’t looking too good with a 2-3mm wobble in it. Going round a corner on a cycle path, I also had to bunny hop down a curb due to not seeing it.
The only positive from the ride to the circuit is that, I found my best seat position (1cm higher than normal) and I found out how much I had improved at climbing, nearly keeping up with Adam on a climb.
The road from the park gates, to the exhibition hall was all gravel, and I nearly lost my front wheel on 2 occasions. Once in the hall we paid the money, and then sat around rating other riders bikes which is quite sad of us 😀
The race started at 6.30, so we had an hour out on the track before the race, complete with motorcycle escorts took to the track. We did 2 or so laps just to warm up, then did a few faster laps. Adam kindly offered to lead me out on the downhill for a sprint, to see if I could get above 50 mph. He led me out, then peeled off. Just as I got out of my saddle, I ran over a little yellow cone and bricked it as I lost the front end. I managed to control it, and not go into the gravel pit at 49 mph. I have never felt that scared on my bike before. I thought the cone was going to flick up into my chain and jam/jam the front wheel. Adam had thought I was as good as down, and he started braking.
I did a a few laps, then realised I have had nothing to eat all day apart from a ham cob, so nipped inside to get something to eat whilst Adam talked to his parents.
In the cafe I got talking to a guy who didn’t believe me that I had cycled ~20 miles to get to the circuit, and started questioning the reason why people wore lycra. I think he understood in the end 😀
When I came back out, Adam had done a few extra laps, so off we went again. The lap was pretty hard, it started with a straight of ~0.7 miles which was flat. But the wind today was horrible, and was blowing right down the straight so it affected both our legs and average speed. After that, you take a right turn into a really nice descent which I was capable of reaching 49mph on.
You can’t really carry the momentum on because as soon as you finish the downhill, it’s straight back uphill on a long drag. Apparently 130 ft per lap. This hill killed me every time.
After the long hill climb, it’s back up onto the straight to go around again.
On the second lap from coming out, the race started and we stopped at the first corner to watch it. People were already getting dropped, with only 0.3 miles done.
Both our legs had died, so we went inside and had a quick look at the weird and wonderful bikes from cyclemagic. Neither of us had the balls to ride one of their bikes. They had a Penny Farthing, a Recumbent Trike, a bike which has a hinge at the seat-tube and some other lovely bikes.
We did a few more laps, then noticed that the race was about to finish, so we set up at the finish line to watch it. Impressive sprint won it in the end, I certainly wouldn’t be able to sprint at the end of a ride like that.
It was a great event, good organization and all for a good cause. Hopefully we’ll be able to race on that track next year, not just a social ride.