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Last weekend was the British National Cycling Championships and on the Saturday I took part in a sportive over 76 miles.

Val and I had booked our accommodation via airbnb and were lucky to get a lovely room in a superb central location at such short notice. The finish line was right outside in the square. We were well looked after by our host. If you have never been to Lincoln then it should be on your list of must visit places. Its a beautiful ancient city, steeped in history and culture.

Over the whole weekend cycling fever gripped the city and the place was buzzing with excitement. On the Friday we arrived there were the junior races. It was lovely to see future stars bursting with enthusiasm as they lined up for their races.

Bunting and window displays everywhere - the whole city was taken over by cycling fever.

Bunting and window displays everywhere – the whole city was taken over by cycling fever.

Stars of the future.

Stars of the future.

I enjoyed my ride the next day. I was lucky that three riders who are also taking part in the Geneva to Milan Cycling challenge for Hope Against Cancer were also taking part in the sportive. I am utterly grateful to Tim Hughes, Angela Stewart and Rob Abell for staying with me and dragging me along a tough route. What a wonderful way of building up camaraderie and the discipline of group riding. If it wasn’t for these riders I would have tootled along at my own pace but as it turned out it was a blistering pace by my standards and good for my training.

The climb up Michaelgate in Lincoln which is a 17% incline over cobbles was a personal achievement which will live with me for the rest of my life.

Me - half way up the gruelling climb on cobbles at Michaelgate averaging 17% incline.

Me – half way up the famous gruelling climb on cobbles at Michaelgate averaging 17% incline.

On the Sunday were the British National Cycling Championships for both men and women. International and national stars, world champions and Olympic medallists were there. The women’s race included the ascent up Michaelgate 5 times and was won by Lizzie Armistead in some style as she outpaced Alice Barnes and Laura Trott.

Lizzie Armistead at the finish

Lizzie Armistead at the finish

The men had to climb Michaelgate 9 times and had a much more closely fought race – nail biting at times. The crowd’s favourite Mark Cavendish was pipped on the final climb by Peter Kennaugh of Team Sky, both riders from The Isle of Man. These gladiators will soon resume competition in the Tour de France starting on 3rd July. Mark Cavendish showed great courage in closing down the front two in the penultimate stage but unfortunate that at times he was impeded and denied any lead out assistance from the trio of Sky riders. I personally can’t wait for the TdeF to start and see Mark win some sprint stages.

Mark Cavendish in his trademark stance straining every sinew at the finish. Photo courtesy of my Instagram follower Adam Taylor @adamt1991

Mark Cavendish in his trademark stance straining every sinew at the finish. Photo courtesy of my Instagram follower Adam Taylor @adamt1991

It was a privilege to see so many famous faces including Laura Trott, Dame Sarah Storey, Joanna Rowsell, amongst so many others. Some of thee people inspired me to take up cycling at the time of the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

We also got to see new upcoming future stars like Owain Doull of Team Wiggins seen below signing autographs along with team mates.

Owain Doull (in white) of Team Wiggins - look out for hims as a future champion.

Owain Doull (in white) of Team Wiggins – look out for him as a future champion.

Earlier this week I have had a couple of recovery rides and now am building up to Sunday when we have an 88 mile group ride in the south and south east parts of Leicestershire. The weather has picked up and after today’s heat wave is predicted to cool down a bit. So plenty of fluids on board then! Tonight is the first meeting of our newly formed Shepshed Cycling Club. The club has been going for 3 weeks and each Sunday so far there has been a good turn out of riders. I am hopeful that the club will grow in stature with time.

Fund raising has slowed down a bit but I am not far from my target. Meanwhile Livio of Livio’s Italian Restaurant is continuing to raise funds from his diners.

Others who wish to donate can do so online at

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/Hopesitalianjob

or www.justgiving.com/guru-singh2