Great Notts Bike Ride - newbie advice

Discussion in 'Sportives' started by phoenix, 7 Jun 2008.

  1. phoenix

    phoenix New Member

    Hope I have posted this is the right forum.

    I have decided to enter the Great Notts Bike Ride in a few weeks time to do the 50 mile ride, I know I can do this distance as I often do more that this on my Sunday runs. But I have only ever ridden on my own (billy no mates) so what advice can anyone give me? My average speed on my runs is very low (about 14mph) so I don't suppose I will have to worry about getting stuck behind anyone.

    Will I have to watch out for inexperienced people who are not aware of how to cycle properly or will I be the inexperienced one trying to keep out of the way of the proper cyclists.

    Any tips or advice so that I can enjoy the ride without getting stressed.
  2. Joe24

    Joe24 More serious cyclist than Bonj

    Depends. If you are used to riding in a group then you should be able to spot other people that are used to riding in a group. If there is someone in front thats abit faster then you, then sit behind him and draft, take it easy:biggrin:(although someone thats much faster will not really help you)
    Your average speed picks up in a group, due to being in a group and being able to sit behind someone and not have to put as much power in.
    I'm doing the Great Notts Bike ride, doing the 100mile one though. You should be able to see me, i will have the Sherwood Cycle Club kit on, and should be with some other people in the same kit.
    Where in Nottingham are you?
  3. OP

    phoenix New Member

    I am based in Hucknall or should that be Ucknll as the locals say.

    I have never ridden with other people so I think this will be my biggest challenge on the day, oh, and actually finding my way to the start. I don't know Nottingham very well.

    I would like to do the 100 mile ride next year and others locally when I get a 'proper' road bike. (Only have a hybrid at the moment as when I started cycling last year I didn't know what sort of riding I would enjoy/want to do). Just waiting for the autumn to see what sort of good deal I can get on a decent road bike but that's a whole new topic.

    At this stage I have to admit I could probably fall into the category of 'all the gear, no idea'.

    When I finally get sent details of the route I will probably take a drive around it early one morning or late one evening so that I know what to expect.

    I just don't know how I will cope being surrounded by and/or overtaken by load of other cyclists.
  4. Fab Foodie

    Fab Foodie hanging-on in quiet desperation ...

    Phoenix, I'm sure you'll be fine, honest.
    14 mph average over ~50 miles is a respectable pace btw.
    OK, riding with other cyclists around is a great motivator and a lot of fun, you just have to have your wits about you... much the same as any day on the road!
    Pay attention to the martials.
    Warn people/groups as you over-take in busy patches "Coming by on the Right" helps or use a bell for warning.
    Be very careful approaching rest stops as people will suddenly swerve accross the road (AAAaargh!) or suddenly stop.
    Beware approaching hills as you'll be amazed hw many people don't know how or when to change gear.
    Beware half way up an incline when the person in front will just stop without warning to push their bike.
    Beware people wobbling!
    The "worst" part usually is the start where the bike density is greatest and people are excited and energetic. As the ride opens out the density decreases and small groups often form and then you can follow or chat or whatever to others as you go along. Most rides are not overly crowded with are a few exceptions like the L2B with some 35000 people trying to get down a very narrow route.

    With a little caution and extra observation you'll have a great ride that will fire you up for the 100 miler!
  5. Joe24

    Joe24 More serious cyclist than Bonj

    If i am right, the 50mile ride goes out to Newark and back. So, there shouldnt be any huge hills that way. If there is then they shouldnt be too long or steep, but then not seen the route yet so not sure.
    The 100mile one goes out to Newark then so far out to Lincoln and back again. So i'm guessing thats going to be pretty flat aswell.
    Oh, and relax into it. When i started i hated having someone up close to me as i was riding. Tensing up is no good so just relax. If your catching the person infront up dont brake too hard either, you'll soon get used to just putting the brakes on the right amount and running close to the person infront.
    When you get a road bike and fancy coming out with a club then give Sherwood Cycle Club a search and come out on a Sunday ride. You'll find the miles go away really really quick then as you ride along chatting.
  6. Joe24

    Joe24 More serious cyclist than Bonj

    Here i think are the routes they are doing.
    Basicly, its flat on the way back, with the only 'hills' being as you go from Raddcliff-on-Trent and East Bridgeford. The 'hills' after that are pretty easy, so it shouldnt be too difficult.
    A section at the end is abit gravelly. I have been down the bit where you turn off from the A6097(i think its the road i think) and is more of a dirt track.
    I think, judging by the route, that you miss out the A612 where it is hilly. There is a slight hill on that road, but nothing too hard. Coming back through Hoveringham, if the wind is head on there then sit behind someone, and the same as you run along the side of the river at Stoke Bardolph.
    So really, it is flat. Not too many narrow roads until you get past East Bridgeford, and i would guess most of the group will have split up. I went that sort of a way last Sunday, there are alot of that stupid top dressing stones down, so hopefully that will have bedded in and be mostly gone before the ride.
  7. OP

    phoenix New Member

    Thanks for the comments, sounds like I should be okay, I just need to keep my wits about me and try to relax.

    I will have a drive around the route next week.
  8. e-rider

    e-rider crappy member

    South West
    Hi, I've done the Notts 50 three times before and I can assure you that the route is very flat. It is amazing how quickly riders disperse and after about 20 miles you will have lots of road space to yourself. That said, the first 20 can be very congested with lots of people making crazy and dangerous manouvers - generally inexperienced riders or faster people overtaking on the wrong side of the road - crazy!

    Remember, ride in a straight line unless avoiding something, look before making a move and anticipate other peoples moves - be prepared to brake in the early stages until riders spread out. Take it steady until you have some riding space and then relax and enjoy the day.

    I'll be doing it on my own too! Although with an estimated 4000 riders you should be able to start a conversation with someone.
  9. mable

    mable New Member

    Busy roads?

    This is our 1st time doing the GNBR, can any one tell us how the roads work ie Cars.
  10. OP

    phoenix New Member

    I haven't even received my rider information pack yet, so that's not a very good advert for the organisers. Is the watersports centre a big place? Will it be obvious where I need to go? My first event so I don't know how these things work.

    Don't suppose I will get a chance to check the route out now but I must find a decent cycling route to the start point and find out how long it will take me to get there.
  11. Joe24

    Joe24 More serious cyclist than Bonj

    I think the roads are just left open, however, from looking at the 50 and 100mile routes. But they are on back roads that aren't that busy.
    For the 50mile, the ride goes into Lowdham on a very quiet road and the A6097 which is normally busy has got tempery traffic lights on so when the riders go through they are in a coned off area. Then its down a dirt road that cars arent allowed on.
    Phoenix, The national water sports centre is a huge place. If you know Lady bay bridge, then you go left just after it at the traffic lights down by all the shops, over the speed bumps past the park, past the horsey place to the end. Then its left and you run along and into the place going past a campsite. I am guessing you go in through the blue gate. Not sure.
    I'm guessing it will be all signed up of where you need to go, i'm thinking that aslong as you get near the large lake then you should be able to follow the mass crouds of sheep people going to the start.
  12. TVC

    TVC Living La Mala Vida


    Me and Mrs C did the 50 miler last year. There are plenty of stewards to point you to the car park and the start is outside the boat house on the rowing lake. When they set you off you go in groups of about 50 every couple of minutes so there aren't a lot of elbows to watch out for.
    The best cake stop is on the way back at about 37 miles, huge cream cakes and big mugs of tea. Speed is irrelevent on the day, it's all about fun.


    (I would be doing it myself but I'll be in York with a huge hangover after my brothers 40th).:biggrin::biggrin:xx(
  13. Joe24

    Joe24 More serious cyclist than Bonj

    Just to let you know, on the roads they have put signs up telling drivers its the GNBR route and for them to take care. Like that will work ;)
  14. OP

    phoenix New Member

    Ok, bikes all ready, little timing chip thingy fitted to the front skewer. So nice of the organisers to send details of how to fit it. NOT. Had to resort to good old Google.

    They also don't say where to attach your number. Front or back of the jersey? What about the little white plasticy number panel, what's that for? From a newbie point of view they haven't really provided much useful information.

    I am already getting stressed about doing my first group ride and I just want to make sure everything is right.

    Good to hear that they start us off in small groups. Again, the information pack doesn't tell me this. Would I be wise in trying to start in one of the first groups? My thinking is that this will probably (hopefully) contain the more keen/experienced cyclists and I should not have to worry about having to overtake inexperienced cyclists who may do something unpredicatable. I don't hold back verbally when someone does something stupid on the road.

    Last of the silly questions (for now)

    Do they get big queues at the toilet stops? Do I need to take a lock to secure my bike at a stop or is it safe to prop it up somewhere during a natural break.

    Feeding stations - Are refreshments free (provided by sponsor) or should I make sure to carry some loose change?

    At this point in time I think it may be less complicated and stressful to go out on my regular Sunday morning ride away from everyone else.
  15. Joe24

    Joe24 More serious cyclist than Bonj

    Phoenix relax:becool:
    I havent even had my info pack yet :biggrin:
    Timing chip? I have a clock on my bike computer. Thats going to add more weight to my bike.;)
    Put your number on your back. Like on a jersey pocket if you can.
    Plastic number panel(if i'm right) goes on the seat post pointing back.
    If there are ques for the toilets, in most places you go through there are areas you can stop for a pee. I even have certain areas on the rides i do everyday where i go. The ride goes through these places so its good.
    I think food and drink is cheap, not sure if is free. But i am hoping it is, £24 for the 100mile is alot. I am hoping to get free food and drink.
    It sort of is complicated, and going out with a cycle club(like Sherwood CC;)) i find is easier. Turn up, have a quick chat, then go and follow someone elses directions in the countryside.
    Carry some change just in case. There are shops all along the way in the little villages.
    I wont be carrying a lock, too much weight to carry so i will just prop it up or take it in with me.
    Start off where-ever you want to. I have heard, might be on here or somewhere else, that they send off the club riders first. Put yourself in the second group, i guess it would be slower and easier for you. Just dont sit right up close to the other people unless you can see that they follow a nice line. Also good incase they dont point out hazards on the floor and just go around them.
    Depending what bike your doing it on, right at the end they have decided to put in a large section of gravel, fine on a road bike, i've done it one. But as you keep going down past the farm and on the narrow road thas a path pre pair to do some off roading. You have to go over some grass, through a small-ish ga on a bridge with rocks sticking up and mud, back across some grass to get back onto the road. Not sure why they chose this way. going along the A612 would of been better and probably just as safe, then just turn into Stoke Bardolph from there. Not good thinking on the organisers part, i can see alot of people wanting to carry their nice expensive road bikes across the grass, which wont be nice in road shoes with cleats on.
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