Our journey begins at ally Pally, the "People's palace", a venue where the likes of Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones and The Who have all played, and many more besides. It's an early meeting time of 8am within the private grounds of Alexandra Palace so you have time to make any final adjustments to your bike (provided by us) and load your bags onto the support crew van. The views across London from here are stunning. Our route takes us quickly out of London along back roads and cycle routes including a flat traffic free trail through Lee Valley Park. The rest of the day is undulating.
Cycle into rural Hertfordshire with great views across the Chilterns then a leisurely lunch stop at The Horns pub, a warm welcome from the bar staff guaranteed. Rest and relax then spend the afternoon cycling along country lanes, through quiet villages all the way to our first overnight stop at Luton. dinner and briefing, then relax and socialise. Generally everyone heads to the hotel bar for metal talk and bonding over a bottle of Trooper beer on this first evening.
Reasonably early start, as it's the longest and toughest ride of the challenge. We'll take our time, make the most of the long June daylight hours and take regular breaks every 20km or so. Prepare for a long day in the saddle. We head out of town towards Northampton passing meadows, back roads and cycle paths, through quiet villages such as Paulerspury, said to be the site of Boudicca's battle. We criss-cross the ancient trackway of Watling Street, which the Romans later paved.
For much of the morning we cycle parallel to the Grand Union Canal. After lunch at the 17th century village inn known as the Saracen's Head, we face the toughest sections of the day. Some long hills test our mettle directly after lunch. Skirt Towcester race course, following designated bike paths as we approach Leicester, bringing us to the end of day 2. Time for a well-earned rest, dinner and briefing.
Final day of the ride and the aim is to arrive at Donington Park by midday. The route sticks to small roads through the green and rolling countryside, mostly gentle ascent for the first part and then down for the second. Regroup to ride the last few miles together. The ride finishes with a celebration. Say goodbye to your bikes, and then after an hour or so head for the festival (tickets not included).
Mission complete for Heavy Metal Truants 6(66)