Surprisingly given that it was a) a Bank Holiday and b) a Polocini event, the weather on Tuesday, day of the Let Them Eat Cake ‘cakelosportive’ was actually pretty good – greyish and cool but not the biblical downpour that such a coincidence of Bank Holiday and Polocini would suggest.
For those wondering what we’re on about, Polocini events have something of a reputation with attracting bad weather although the riders mostly seem to accept this with general good humour and banter and it's become a bit of a standing joke on the Polocini Twitter feed (@polocini).
The event HQ was the Nantwich Rugby Club and getting out there was gloriously quiet. Maybe everyone was still recovering from Monday’s Jubilee street parties or setting up for a street party that day. As with most of the Polocini events, these are low key sportives and there were just under 200 riders at this one, a nice manageable number which normally leads to a good atmosphere, more of a family feel.
With the roads being so quiet, all the riders set off together and were very quickly onto deserted back lanes as the route wound out towards Chester. It strung out quite quickly, groups forming, breaking and re-forming as people found their tempo and settled in for the tailwind assisted first half out the famous Eureka Café mid point which the event had taken over as the feed station.
Eureka is a well known institution for Cheshire based cyclists and with the sportive calling in, there was a table of cakes especially for us. I took my cake outside along with a coffee while I fixed the punctured inner tube I’d sustained on a particularly potholed section of road a few miles earlier.
Tube fixed, cake eaten and coffee drunk I hooked up with a couple of the guys who I’d been riding with on the way in and we set off, re-tracing our wheels for the first few miles and passing people still on the first leg heading to the café. Within a few miles the route had turned off onto new roads and we’d settled into a scorching pace, three of us in team time trial mode, the only way to beat the persistent headwind. The helping tailwind from earlier had now become our nemesis.
We called a truce as the route wound through the beautiful roads of Beeston, past the famous castle and used the opportunity to sit up, take in the scenery, take on board some food and drink and have a chat before resuming the more efficient drafting mode, winding the pace up over the last 10 miles or so as the roads gradually became more urban and we popped out at the rugby club to finish the event with Polocini’s famous food and cake.
More Polocini events can be found here: http://polocini.com/cyclosportives/2012-events/ with online entry available through the British Cycling Online Entry system but be quick – they sell out quickly! Plenty more pictures from the event can be found on Rick Robson's website http://www.cyclesportphotos.com