A Lot Of Overs (July 31st)

When I arrived at the campground last night the office was closed so I couldn’t pay for my site at that time. It was more than a little fortuitous that when I left the campground this morning the office was still closed. Sure, I may have made a conscious effort to get on the road a bit earlier than usual this morning. That said, it wasn’t exclusively to avoid paying for last night’s accommodation – that was just a collateral perk. There was another element to my plan for the day.

Last night's "free" campground.

Last night’s “free” campground.

Through a series of somewhat random internet searches, I stumbled onto a plan for today’s destination. Well, the destination didn’t change – it was Leicester – but as of late last night I discovered that there was a cricket match scheduled for 11:00 AM today. With Leicester being just under 50 km away, I figured I could get to the match on time provided I hit the road around 8:00.

There were a few options in terms of routing from Nottingham to Leicester. However, I opted for the most direct route so as to not waste time looking at maps all morning. Instead, I worked my way over to the A6 carriageway which led me directly into Leicester. Yes, it was a major road. Sure there was more traffic than the minor roads. But the route was direct and that’s all I really cared about. Plus, it was Sunday morning so I figured (or hoped) there would be less traffic. There was.

Welcome to Leicester.

Welcome to Leicester.

The ride ended up going very smoothly. It was actually incredibly enjoyable getting onto a major road and just pedalling. No navigation necessary. One road to Leicester. The result had me arriving at Fischer County Grounds (aka. Grace Road) by 10:30 where I bought my ticket and entered the grounds. I was a bit concerned as to where I would keep my bike during the match but it turned out that it wasn’t an issue as I just kept it with me the entire time. I ended up watching the match from a bench (as in something like a park bench, not bleachers) and my bike was just leaned up against said bench.

My experience with cricket would be best described as limited. I had only ever been to one other match and that was several years ago in Wellington, New Zealand. After all that time, I was actually a bit surprised as to how much I remembered about how the game is played. That said, today’s game was a BIT longer than that first experience. That contest was a 20-over match and was completed in three hours. Today’s contest was a 50-over match. For those mathematically challenged, 50 is a lot more than 20. Translation: The first half lasted about 3.5 hours. As did the second half. And there was a 45 minute break for lunch. I’m not going to lie, that’s a long time to watch a match. Of course, for cricket purists, that’s nothing compared to the 5-day matches. Yes, 5-days.

Play Ball, uh ... I mean, Cricket!

Play Ball, uh … I mean, Cricket!

I can’t say that I was entirely focussed on every play that took place but I did enjoy what I saw and I’m definitely glad I went. I was also glad that there was free WiFi available. Barely. It certainly wasn’t the most reliable WiFi connection I’ve ever had but as the signal came and went I managed to arrange a Warm Showers host for tonight. I have to say (and at the risk of jinxing things), I’ve been pretty lucky so far on my last minute requests.

My hosts for tonight were Shirley and Lee and I ended up arriving at Shirley’s house before 5:30. For those savvy mathematicians out there, 7 hours of cricket + 45 minute lunch break + 11:00 start time = much later than 5:30. Conclusion: Yes, I left early. I’m not proud of it but I also wanted to arrive at Shirley’s place at a reasonable time. And I did.

Shirley and Lee were so welcoming, enthusiastic, and friendly. Simply great. We ended enjoying what Shirley called, “a simple meal” and what I would call a veritable feast. At the risk of repeating myself, simply great. Over dinner, we talked a lot about our various adventures as both Shirley and Lee have done a LOT of cycle touring as well. It was a very enjoyable evening. An evening which also included a short trip up to a local pub for a pint.

The day started with free camping, included an easy ride, a LOT of cricket, a bit of ice cream, great Warm Showers hosts, a great dinner, a bit more ice cream, and then ended with a pint at a local pub. If that’s not a great day then I don’t know what is.

Today’s totals:
Distance travelled: 46.28 km
Ride time: 2:27:07
Average speed: 18.87 km/h
Maximum speed: 38.04 km/h

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