My Ride (according to Strava)
Total Distance: 114km/71 miles with 1,148 metres of climbing
Ride Time: 4 hours 27 minutes
Group size: 28 riders, no FNG’s.
Weather in a word or two: Good in the end.
Main topic of conversation at the start: Comparing and catching up on holidays: walking in Cornwall, cycling in Wales, or walking, mountain-biking, drinking beer from huge steins and wiping-out in water-parks in Austria? Hmm, tough choice that one.
Our club road race is next week and sadly, through an accident of propitiously bad planning, I’m on holiday and will miss it. Damn. OGL informed us that there were some temporary road works and traffic lights part way around the course, but muttered darkly that we shouldn’t worry and it “should be ok.” Err, right…
Main topic of conversation at the coffee stop: When Taffy Steve placed his order and told the waitress where he’d be sitting, she simply wrote “Colin” on her pad. Sure enough his toasted teacakes duly arrived, exactly where he was sitting – evidently at the table widely known as Colin.
One of the guys was helping out at the British Transplant Games, but couldn’t enlighten us about the persistent and rather scurrilous rumours that OGL tried to blag himself a place in the bike race by dint of his hair transplant. (He assures me it’s 100% natural).
Talk of hair-transplants naturally led to the all-round ridiculing of Graham Gooch for his macho image, but Alvin and the Chipmunks-on-helium, squeaky voice. Surely far too easy a target for Aussie sledging – although, like the school bully, when has sledging ever rejected a target for being too easy?
This in turn led to discussions about the maddeningly inconsistent England cricket team and reminiscing about the time super-oily, supercilious, self-publicising, pompous oaf Piers Morgan faced an over from deadly Aussie fast bowler Brett “Binga” Lee.
This then (see, there is method in the madness, well sort of…) led to the idea for a new TV show where Piers Morgan (or other celebrity caricature of your choice) is drafted in to compete in a extreme sports – perhaps a round with Mike Tyson, kick-off returns in the NFL, sumo wrestling, or a bit of extreme cage-fighting. If only gladiatorial combat with lions hadn’t gone out of fashion…
On my way back to Chris from getting a coffee refill, another table (“Jonathan” perhaps – Chris’s younger, more awkward and slightly estranged brother?) declared that they’d already done all the hard work for me and decided on the title for this blog entry. Thanks fellers.
Although I admit I may have misunderstood the story slightly, apparently one of their group is only scheduled to get “lucky” with his missus on that very day, the 1st of August, but had foolishly eschewed carnal pleasures to ride with us. Such are the dangerous lures of the club run.
There was some debate, but no resolution, about whether his schedule followed an annual or bi-annual programme, or simply mirrored the Olympics and World Cup at 4 year intervals.
Well, there we all were, a whole host of lads and lasses in summer clothes and with shiny best bikes, gathered together for a pleasant ride in acceptable, if somewhat unremarkable, unremittingly dull and disappointing weather, or as its more typically known – the British summer. Still, grey and overcast though it was, at least it wasn’t raining and the forecast was for dry conditions throughout.
We pushed off, clipped in and as if on cue a squally burst of frozen rain swept over us like a communal ice bucket challenge. Instantly soaked through from head to toe from “stotting” rain and filthy road spray, it was enlightening to see how many of us had the foresight to pack a rain jacket, and the wherewithal to actually pull it on quickly enough to stop the rain getting in rather than simply trapping the dampness between clothing and skin.
Sadly I was one of those unprepared for the drenching, so black marks for me – actually rather neatly and fittingly visualised by the streaks of dirt that appeared on once pristine white socks.
The rain did ease and quickly pass, but left everyone uncomfortably damp and chilled for the first hour or so, until we warmed up through general activity and the occasional burst of sporadic sunshine.
I drifted through the group, catching up and chatting with Ovis, Plumose Papuss , Szell, Grover, Moose Bumps and a few others until I found myself generally loitering at the back and content in my own little world. On the way past Szell had suggested the paint job on my bike was gaudy enough for it to be made of aluminium. Ouch. Bitch.
For all the shiny, shiny carbon on display there seemed a lot of ill maintained bikes out, so we rode everywhere in a whirring, buzzing, rattling chiaroscuro of noise with the constant group chatter ladled on top. This was perhaps the reason why we spooked a passing horse that came crabbing sideways across the road toward us. We all had to stop and pull over to the side to let the dumb, helpless animal (and his mount) regain control and finally sidle warily past.
A stop for micturition relief gave us the chance to split the group, along with the opportunity to ponder the one-hit wonder that is (was?) Natalie Imbruglia, as Crazy Legs declared through the medium of song that he was “torn”.
[Nat did have one supporter who felt she was much more than a one-hit wonder, but when challenged he couldn’t name one single other song . More tellingly his views are rather suspect as he has been known to plug-in earbuds and declare he’s off to ride on his own while listening to Alanis Morissette. Listening to Alanis Morissette seems like the worst kind of madness, until you consider actually telling other people that’s what you are doing.]
The split left us with an uncomfortably large pod of demon racing snakes, and could explain why shortly afterwards Crazy Legs took off on his lonesome at the first available junction. Then again, maybe he was just torn.
We rattled up the long, much-hated drag to the cross-roads and then as the racing snakes wound up the pace G-Dawg sneaked us, down a little known side road for a slightly shorter, longer ride. Five of us duly escaped, deftly avoiding the evil clutches of the Demon Cult of the Racing Snakes, although we couldn’t quite manage to avoid the regular sufferfest that is Middleton Bank.
We arrived at the café slightly behind the other groups, to find ourselves at the back of a very long queue for cake and coffee, and we were still there, blathering on when everyone else left, so had a very compact group for the ride back.
We had a grandstand view of G-Dawg and Son of G-Dawg eye-balling each other for the final sprint home – there’s a lot on the line with this particular contest as first one home gets the shower, while the loser is left to clean the bikes. As they disappeared off into the distance Taffy Steve swept left at the roundabout while I swooshed right and we each set off for our own individual trek home.
I’ll be back in a week or two. In-between times, keep watching the skies…
YTD Totals: 3,932km/ 2,443 miles with 43,356 metres of climbing.