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Background on Dave Pitt's ride to take the 50 & 100 records from me in 1991.                  Back to Rides in 1990

Dave had scheduled for the 50 miles, 100 miles and 12 hours records.  All in one ride.

He had chosen to start on the Cumbria/Durham border, on the A66 west of Bowes.  This gave him a substantial downhill start which fed onto the A1 southbound at Scotch Corner.   His route then followed the A1 all the way through to Doncaster where he had to detour off (because of A1(M)) and back on at Blyth.   The route then stayed with the A1 until Alconbury where he would peel off onto the A14 heading towards Harwich.

Because he was trying to fit the 12 hours in to an autumn day, he had a start time of 7am.

Now, this is all fine.  However, Pauline Strong also had intentions on the women's bicycle 100 record, and she had a Notice submitted for an A1 course from Blyth to Sandy starting at 11am.

She selected her day and notified the RRA.   Dave then selected the same day for his ride.  (no great surprise as both rides needed the same conditions)

With Pauline starting at Blyth at 11am, the RRA secretary spotted that there was a possibility that Dave might be getting to Blyth at just about the same time that Pauline was starting.    There was thus a possibility of more than one aspirant using the same stretch of road at the same time.   This would go very much against the Unpaced Condition in the RRA rules, and so the secretary told Dave that he would have to move his start time to 8am.

Ironically, this meant that Dave lost any interest in the 12 hour record.  Ironic because if he was only going for the 50 & 100 records he wouldn't actually get on to the overlap section - and hence the change wouldn't be necessary.

Anyhow, Dave drove to Bowes Moor.  At 7am it was freezing - literally.   There was ice all over the road.  He was lucky that his start time had been pushed to 8am, but even then it was treacherous.  So he used a clause in Rule 12.01 which allows the start to be delayed by up to 30 minutes because of unforseen circumstances.  When he set off at 8.30am, it was still cold & he was clothed from head to foot.

He did the entire ride in the clothes he needed at the start, and so must've been steaming at the end.  But if he'd stopped, he might possibly have taken a while to perform the change, and that could've cost him the 100 record. 

He had a decent margin on the 50 record, helped by the fact that when I did the ride there was a short detour after 15 miles.  The detour was an annoying necessity because there aren't 100 decent miles between the M25 and Lowestoft.

His margin was down to 1m 20s at the 100 point.   This was obviously much less than the damage I'd previously done to his old record, but still plenty enough to be described as comfortable.

He was clearly lucky with the circumstances forcing him to shift his start by an hour, as riding at 30+ mph on icy roads would surely have been disastrous. 

However, even if things hadn't worked out for him on that day, I can be sure that he would've had another go.   He wasn't going to just abandon the project.  He had the belief & wasn't going to give up after one wasted journey.

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Meanwhile, I was part of the support crew for Pauline's 100 mile attempt.   We were completely ignoring Dave Pitt, as we had problems of our own.   When we had arrived at Blyth on the previous evening we were confronted with massive roadworks at the Blyth Nornay roundabout.  The course was supposed to start on the A614 200 yards north of the roundabout.  

The A614 was completely closed and there was no way to get onto the A1 without riding through rubble on the building site.  We spent quite a bit of time on the phone to the RRA Secretary discussing what options we had.

In the end we decided the only option we had was to pace out the distance between the scheduled start and a suitable alternative on the A1.   Even this was tricky because we got a load of grief for walking through the roadworks area when not authorised.

Fortunately we managed to agree a number of paces.  The attempt started on time and Pauline made good progress.  When we were past 75 miles, the car I was in went ahead to allow us to adjust the finish point.   Naturally we were sure to make the course long rather than short.  Pauline beat the required time, so all we had to do was get the course remeasured.

Fortunately, (a few weeks later) we were advised that the revised course was valid.   Less fortunately, the first thing Alan Strong said to me after the end of Pauline's ride was "By the way, Dave Pitt broke both your records."    Darn it.

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