Reporter: Leanne Cutler
On a warmish (16°C) Saturday morning Nomads Jon Traynor, Nigel Wilson and Leanne Cutler set off up the A1(M) to South Cave near Hull, to join 147 other riders (including some bloke called Sir Bradley Wiggins) on the A63 (more commonly known as the V718) for a 10 miles bicycle promenade.
The day didn’t start well for Jon Traynor, or his bike, resulting in an emergency trip to Trisports before leaving Hertfordshire. After a lunch stop at Scunthorpe services (and Nigel Wilson being locked in the car with the alarm blaring out) the three Nomads arrived at event HQ in Newport . A quick change into the blue and yellow skin suits and the first Nomad, Leanne Cutler, made the 4 miles journey to the start line only to discover that the start had been delayed by 15 min, then 30 min, then 45 mins due to emergency removal of a ‘dangerous lamp post’ following a fight with a car the previous evening. Rumour on amongst the sixteen ladies lining up was it was a rouse in the bid for the strong westerly 18 mph winds (and 33 mph gusts) to have died down prior to Wiggo taking on Alex Dowsett’s 10 miles TT record (17:20 on E2/10 at Six Mile Bottom near Newmarket last season). The BBC camera man clearly hadn’t read the script and started filming number 12 (rather than 120) and 13 before realising his error. This left the nation’s TV licence payers missing Nomad Leanne’s moment off the start line being cheered on by Jon and Nigel who, like the rest of the crowds, had been unaware of the late start. It looked like the entire local cycling community had turned out in force with pockets of crowds in the laybys and bridges on A63. Jon and Nigel chatted to some of the natives at the start and Jon was heard to say ”I like to give something back to the fans” when a young boy was chuffed that he had been talking to somebody in the race.
The wind helped on the outward leg, resulting in Jon achieving top speed of 32 mph, Nigel averaging 28 mph and Leanne reaching the 4.6 mile turn point in 9 min 11 sec. The return 5.4 miles was a very different story. Strong headwinds and gusts, especially in the final mile, resulted in the pace dropping to as low as 16 mph.
Following their gruelling effort, the Nomads returned to the start to see Sir Bradley being pushed off. You had to feel sorry for number 116 who, after 50yds, broke his chain. Perhaps he should have gone to Trisports before the race like Jon? The second loudest cheer of the day was for Wiggins minute man, A Birdsall, who achieved a PB of 24:52. Wonder how long he held Wiggo off for? The traffic stopped (much to some motorists’ annoyance) and one elderly gentleman was heard to say ”I will never see anything like this in my lifetime again” until Nigel pointed out that Wiggins was doing it all again a week on Wednesday! 5:15pm and he was off, with his gold lid and rainbow striped World TT Champion disc wheel – subtle. After watching his return both Jon and Nigel agreed that, from their view on the bridge, Leanne had looked far more comfortable than Wiggins at this point. The Nomads rushed back to the HQ for coffee and cake, and to check on their times against the best of the rest. All three had secured PB’s. Fastest was Jon Traynor 24:13, followed by Nigel Wilson 24:35 then Leanne Cutler 24:48.
Talk around HQ from those in the know was that the conditions made the course at least 1 min slower than usual, a theory confirmed when Wiggins time was posted: 17:58. So that was Nomads 3 Wiggins 0 on the PB front. Jon and Nigel chatted to the Cycling Weekly press guy (both pre and post race) whilst Leanne was totally unaware of who he was (honest). Look out for next week’s magazine as surely Nomads will be heavily featured. As time progressed the crowds dispersed when it became apparent that Sir Brad was forgoing the post ride coffee and cake. Hopes were momentarily raised when a bearded guy wandered in, only for us to realise it was a ‘Fat Gomm’.
Before heading home Jon and Nigel decided to partake in the local fish and chips from ‘Johnny’s Haddock’ whilst the more health conscious Leanne settled for a diet coke and a banana. Three and a half hours later at Newark and Wiggins finally caught and overtook the Nomads … in his team car. It was agreed that it had been ‘a grand day out’ and 23’s were definitely on the cards next time.