We got the gears sorted and headed down to Oxton on another dry but breezy day. Eleven of us gathered in the pub car park and ten of those eleven were surprised when Mick turned up on time! After a bit of obvious banter Mick led us out up and over pudding back. Crossing one field boundary via a gate Sheldon threw his bike over the fence and bent his rear mech hanger! The daft lad had just undone my setting up of his gears! Luckily it straightened back into a usable state without too much fuss.

The cheeky descent towards Farnsfield was fun although the couple of walkers we passed didn't look impressed. We picked up the Southwell trail and followed the old railway line to the town with plenty of opportunity to chat as we did so. In Southwell we descended a little flight of steps which I haven't ridden for years. Both Baz and I commented on how years ago we would have thought them difficult and stopped while people psyched up to do them. Now they aren't really considered by many of us to be much of a challenge. We have progressed over the years.

We continued on country lanes and bridleways to Halloughton, Thurgaton and then to Caythorpe with the plan being to stop for a drink at The Vol. As we rode the bridleway through the old gravel pits the pace went somewhat daft up front and we got split up! I guess some of the lads were thirsty?!! I was in the back group and as we arrived at the pub some of the guys at the front already had pints in hand. While we were enjoying a pint Jamie rolled up in his van having been out on his MX bike.

After a suitable amount of refreshment some of us needed to get back to Oxton and others veered off elsewhwere. Sheldon, Why Aye Chris and I set off first with some of the others giving us a head start before they started chasing us down. We immediately lost most of that head start at the level crossing waiting for a train!

Sheldon had done pretty good for his first XC ride in months but the rest and beer hadn't done him any good and he was feeling it as we pedalled so we kept the pace steady. In Epperstone Jamie was messing about holding drinks bottles out of his van window support crew style. Mick and Baz caught us here and then once on the bypass left us behind. I think hanging on to a van window and dissapearing into the distance could be classed as cheating in the sprint though Mick!!!