Flat, Flat ride, or Tour de Mansfield:

Too many Nerac Earth members to name for this event.

There were a few influences that made this an interesting Tour de Mansfield. The first was timing. It seems that everyone started at different times so there were NE members all over the course. That affected whether or not you started in the rain, or were out on the course when the rain started. John, Sue, Nathan, Nicky, Bill, and I started early so John could make it back to the kid’s race, so we didn’t hit rain till around the 10 mile mark. Like most cyclists, rain is just something you deal with as part of the sport, so we were signing in the rain as we rode along…..or something like that. Sue, John and I were commenting on how flat this felt after our Barkhamsted ride last Sunday, when Bill got a flat. Flats were the second influence as there were 6 of them that I know of just with NE riders. John and I changed the flat in the pouring rain and got him going again only to have him flat again. There was a good sized hole in the tire so Bill went inside at the first rest stop (right next to where he flatted) and was only there a few minutes when the sag bus picked him up. We started up again only to have Sue flat on Puddin Lane. While inflating her tire with the CO2, it slipped off the rim and blew the tube which sounded like a fire cracker going off. We got another tube in and were very careful to have the tire seated completely prior to opening up the inflator all the way. Again we were under way and things seemed to go smoothly from here. Nathan hasn’t been riding much because of baseball and other commitments but none the less rode strong all day and seemed to always have a smile. Nicky said she hadn’t been riding a lot but was very strong as well. The third influence of this year’s tour was the split at Mansfield Rd and Pleasant valley Rd. On the first lap both the 20 milers and the 40 milers were supposed to go straight up the hill back to the start. Then on the second lap across Puddin lane, the 40 milers needed to take a left turn onto Pleasant Valley. The problem came in where on the first lap most riders doing the 40 took a left at the sign (which was confusing) and cut out the 10 mile loop up and back from the start. That explained why our group never saw the other NE riders on the course and that everyone we talked to only did 30 miles. This is a fun and scenic ride that I always enjoy and it was nice to see so many NE riders in attendance. The sun was out at the end and we all enjoyed a good lunch before heading home.
Dave F

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