Club Run, Sunday 26th July, 2015
My Ride (according to Strava)
Total Distance: 99km/61 miles with 868 metres of climbing
Ride Time: 3 hours 47 minutes
Group size: 12 riders at the start. A few unfamiliar faces, but no FNG’s.
Weather in a word or two: Grand.
Main topic of conversation at the start: The TdF finale, and whether it had been a good race or not, including various reports of where (or, more accurately in which pub) people were watching the penultimate stage, perhaps explaining the low turnout on such a glorious morning…
OGL suggested one of our youngsters could put so much power through his downstroke that his frame was flexing and his pedal catching on the chainstay. Awesome. Alternatively, I think he could just be completely duck-toed and/or twisting his ankle when really putting the power down and it’s his shoes abrading the paintwork. Not so awesome.
Main topic of conversation at the coffee stop: The vagaries of Italian sizing, and how buying Castelli is the only time I don’t feel like a wimpy-weakling and can get away with ordering an L or even XL. The Small and even Medium sizes are to be avoided at the risk of severe bruising, skin abrasions, internal bleeding and the unhealthy compression of vital organs. Not a good look, but perhaps suitably “aero?”
Bike porn – the number of shiny bikes on display provoked the usual degree of eye-roving wanderlust and new carbon-cravings.
Having just returned from a largely inactive holiday I was in urgent need of some cycling therapy as quickly as possible, and having missed the usual Saturday club run decided to try a rare Sunday morning foray. This proved to be with a much smaller, quieter and somewhat polarised group of lads and lasses, almost equally split between thrusting young things and grizzled old codgers; the club’s very own grognards. I’m more than comfortable staking a claim in the latter camp, so felt right at home.
We set out, pushed off and clipped in, hoping that for once the forecasts would exhibit a modicum of accuracy and we would be home and hosed long before the predicted rain swept in.
In comfortably warm temperatures and with only a relatively benign wind to contend with, I rode on the front for the first 40km or so, swapping news and views with Moose Bumps, while keeping the pace manageable and all the hard-riding young things in check behind me. In fact we only gave up the front when an OGL vacillation mid-way through a left-hand turn directed everyone off to the right instead … and we slipped quickly and effortlessly from first to last in the blink of an eye.
A quick charge up the Quarry climb brought me briefly to the front again, until we began the drive for the café and the thrusting young things, deciding the pace wasn’t quite fast enough, swept past to form a new, supercharged vanguard.
Obviously in a tribute to Red Max’s Forlorn Hope attack, the Cow Ranger then had a dig and strung us all out as we burned down to the Snake Corners. I was still hanging at the back as we slowed to cross the main road and then rolled down the lane. A right-hand turn spat us out onto the last small rise before the café and, with some shamelessly dumb riding up the wrong side of the white lines (don’t try this at home kids), I just managed to accelerate past all but one of the group on the short ramp to the last junction.
At the café, I was called into unexpected action to rescue the sacred, communal milk jug after it had been kidnapped and held hostage by a table full of cyclists from a rival club. This selfless act of heroism and skillful negotiation will no doubt earn me the life-long respect and possibly a small discount from the café’s grateful staff. Or more probably not.
Uncomfortable in the face of the anticipated, but strangely delayed adulation, and not wanting to hang around too long and risk getting rained on, a handful of us saddled up and struck out, leaving behind those wanting to wallow in caffeine and cake indolence.
As we closed on the last few miles from our start point the Cow Ranger and the Plank kept trading blows and pushing the pace up, so once Mini Miss turned off I let them ride away, before settling down to meander my own way home.
Another hugely enjoyable ride and some much needed exercise to blow away the holiday indulgences and clear the noggin.
Hopefully normal service will be resumed next week. Until then, keep watching the skies…
YTD Totals: 3,760km/ 2,336 miles with 41,412 metres of climbing.