My Ride (according to Strava)
Club Run, Saturday 23rd May, 2015
Total Distance: 115.8km/71.9 miles with 1,080 metres of climbing
Ride Time: 4 hours 24 minutes
Group size: 42 cyclists at the start. 1 FNG
Weather in a word or two: Summer?
Main topic of conversation at the start: How everyone was now in full summer mode, no matter what, meaning shorts and short sleeve jerseys for the next few months and resolutely sitting outside in the café even when the temperature plummets down to frigid again.
Main topic of conversation at the coffee stop: Chain maintenance, replacement and cleaning. Why several riders hibernate over winter, come out at the first hint of warmer weather and then bitch like hell because they have zero fitness, too much body fat and keep getting dropped. It doesn’t take a genius, guys …
Flippin’ New Guy borrowed one of his Dad’s classic steel bikes and came along to see if he’d enjoy a club run. Predictably got one or two “nice bike” comments. Struggled, but made it to the café stop, and presumably home before his mother got anxious. May return?
A very large mixed group of 44 lads and lasses met up at our rendezvous point, under warm sunshine and clear blue skies. The arm warmers were abandoned early and we rolled out in high hopes for our weekly dose of fun and merriment.
Approaching a small incline, Mini Miss was getting a lecture from OGL about chain wear and how hers looked in need of replacement. OGL suggested replacement at least every 3,000 miles. Riding behind Taffy Steve I could almost see him counting down on his fingers and toes and doing quick calculations in his head. He changed gear for the climb ahead, pressed hard on the pedals and I heard a suitably metallic “spang” as his chain parted with precision timing. Ah, the secret of good comedy.
As he fixed the problem, OGL held an impromptu inspection and we were all deemed to be in deep disgrace due to inappropriate chain maintenance and summarily stripped of our reserve energy gels.
With repairs made we pressed on and before too long we hit another incline to the accompaniment of a light metallic tinkling sound. With a “bump-badump” I ran over what I at first thought was some mutated roadkill – a shiny, black spineless hedgehog of some kind, lying curled up protectively in the middle of the road. With much shouting and confusion, and at least one rider hitting the deck, we all pulled over to discover the Prof’s saddle had shed its bolts and he’d jettisoned it as he jumped up onto the pedals to stomp up the hill.
Having been re-assured this wasn’t some deliberate, too-clever scheme to lighten his bike for the climb ahead, we gathered all the pieces and the Prof set about fixing his saddle back on.
With two mechanicals to slow us we were running a little late and to save time we split the group on the fly. It them all got a bit chaotic, the groups all jumbled with different riders of different abilities.
Mad Colin took control of our group and whipped us into an almost workable pace-line. Only half of the group were working through and off though, so as the speed ramped up all the riding was being done the same handful.
We hit the Quarry Climb at speed and I heard Reg bitching and moaning and grinding his bottom bracket in complaint. We re-assembled briefly and then the flyers took off. I tried to pull a few mad, desperate fools across the gap as the road dragged up, then tipped us over into a crazed descent, but the gap wasn’t narrowing.
Rounding the corner with brake blocks smoking, I dug in again on the next hill and pulled clear with 3 or 4 others. An ill-advised Paris-Roubaix train moment at the crossroads earned me a small gap, and assured me of a decent place in the café queue – or at least would have done if the groups hadn’t been all mixed up. Some of the faster riders had gone on the amblers shorter route and beaten me to the punch. Foiled again.
Until next week…
YTD Totals: 2,314km/ 1,438 miles with 25,079metres of climbing.