14th April - The weather was kind to us for this years’ running of the St Neots Cycling Club’s tribute to Paris Roubaix: The Hell of St Neots.
Twelve riders set off from the square at 8.30am for the 51 mile route. This year the route headed east towards Cambridge to ensure a tailwind home and consisted of 43 miles of road and 8 miles of off-road “sectors”, to simulate Paris Roubaix.
The first sector took us down and across Tempsford Airfield, causing two punctures and one retirement. Just like the Roubaix, this was looking to be a ride of attrition. As we approached the second sector the group saw the second and final retirement, but not the last puncture.
Pushing on and chasing the clock following the earlier punctures the group split, only to re-group at the Longstowe crossroads. From there everyone worked well together, found a rhythm and a real understanding of what the ride was all about.
Contained within the group were an Ashwell CC guest, a new club rider attending only his second club ride, plus regular representatives of the SNOG’s, short, medium and long Sunday groups, a real mixed bag. This proved to be the making of the event, with each rider meeting new friends and sharing a unique experience.
Giving in to the temptation of free Frites & Mayo at the Barley Mow, St Neots at 12 noon, the riders turned tail at Comberton and headed home. This cut a sector and 8 miles off the ride but no-one seemed to mind, the sun was shining, we had a tailwind and everyone was having fun.
On the push back in we suffered one final puncture but still managed a spirited sprint for the sign at Eynesbury.
It was one “hell” of a ride!