Fantastic Day

Fantastic Day

Club Run, Saturday 20th October, 2018

My Ride (according to Strava)

Total Distance:                                  111 km / 69 miles with 1,116 metres of climbing

Ride Time:                                          4 hours 22 minute

Average Speed:                                25.4 km/h

Group size:                                         27 riders, 0 FNG’s

Temperature:                                    17°C

Weather in a word or two:          Fantastic


 

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Ride Profile

What a gorgeous and glorious day.

As I rolled down the valley, the sun crept into clear space beneath a band of dark, low cloud and threw a ridiculously long, sharp shadow ahead of me, cartoonish, spindly legs whirring under a peanut body topped with a spiky pinhead.

The concentrated, liquid light tangled itself in all the fading, autumnal leaves on the trees, setting them aflame in a lambent, amber glow that looked like a photo someone had applied far too much contrast to.

It sho was purdy, though.

One of the more noticeable attributes of the Pug is its near silent running, the freewheel is mute, the chain makes a hushed, barely audible whisper and when the brakes and rims combine they are completely and oddly soundless. This combined with an eerie lack of traffic, let me pick out the buzzing of the power lines, a rustle of a small bird, or mammals in the hedgerow, the slap of water against the bridge piles as I crossed the river and the rhythmic, shouted commands of the stroke, as a 4-man boat shot the arches and slid smoothly out into open water.

My ride in was equally as smooth, calm and tranquil and I arrived a few minutes before my usual time, to find Crazy Legs uncharacteristically there before me and, even more unexpectedly, chatting with Szell. Szell is normally well into hibernation mode by now, but this year is seriously challenging to still be riding with us in November.


Main topics of conversation at the start

“I’ve been here fifteen minutes already,” Crazy Legs explained cheerfully, before revealing his enthusiasm was in no way related the arrival of house guests, which may, or may not, have given him the urge to vacate the house for a while.

G-Dawg rolled in with the Colossus and there was some discussion about the intended route, which Aether had posted-up, but Crazy Legs insisted had suddenly changed mid-week, while he was looking at it online. Aether arrived and was equally as adamant that the route was the same one he’d originally devised and he hadn’t tinkered with it at all.

“Woah,” I contributed, “I think we’ve been hacked by the Russians.” Imagining some sophisticated, Fancy Bears, cyber-espionage group from the GRU interfering with our group rides for their own nefarious purposes. I’m sure, if pressed OGL would blame the Chinese.

G-Dawg, Crazy Legs and Aether talked through the proposed route and all its various permutations, finally agreeing on one definitive version. Everyone seemed to be in accord, which was good, but I’m still no closer to knowing if, unlikely as it may sound, our group rides are an on-going, potential target for cyber-terrorists.

“Anyway,” Aether wondered, “Is orange the new club colour?” nodding at G-Dawg, Szell, the Colossus and Crazy Legs, who were all bedecked in various shades of orange.

There was then a quite unseemly spat, when Szell declared the particular shade of orange that Crazy Legs was wearing was  “girly.” This escalated into a surprisingly sophisticated, mature and philosophical discourse, punctuated by the trading of clever epithets and witty, barbs. Such as:  “you stink!” … “no, your mum stinks!” …etc.

Ignoring the squabbling children, G-Dawg informed us OGL probably wouldn’t be joining us for the ride as he’d been receiving treatment for a dodgy hip. Otherwise the good weather had enticed a sizeable mob of 27 guys and gals out for the day and we decided to split into two groups with a merge point agreed further along the route.

So, we split the group into two … or, to be more accurate, tried to split into two, but the front group was dwarfed by those holding back to ride in the second group. I pushed across to even up the numbers and one or two others were coerced into joining us.

At the lights G-Dawg did a quick headcount, we had 11, leaving 16 behind, it would have to do. “Just watch,” G-Dawg mused, “OGL will turn up late and everyone in the second group will suddenly stampede to join the first.”


Luckily it wasn’t to be and I pushed out alongside the Colossus and away we went, averaging a reasonable 17-18mph for the first 10 miles or so, before ceding the front to Captain Black and Richard of Flanders.

A little further on, we found ourselves being trailed by a massive, six-wheeled piece of heavy-duty farm equipment. Stopped by some temporary lights, we shuffled off to the side of the road to let this behemoth through ahead of us. It was too big to argue with.

The traffic lights reminded the Colossus of a game he used to play while travelling with his dad – “Would I Have Died?” – a vehicular take on Russian-roulette, where you imagine ignoring a red stop light and see if you would make it through to the other side without being obliterated by on-coming traffic.

The lights changed, the behemoth squeezed past and we followed. There was no traffic approaching from the other direction – this time we wouldn’t have died. So, that’s “Would I Have Died?” – I think you’ll agree it’s a fun game for all the family, but obviously not to be undertaken in real life (unless you’re Dutch or have Dutch leanings) – after all, you’ll only lose once.

We made it to the designated lay-by and pulled in to wait for the second group to catch up, chatting about tomorrows highly popular Muckle Open Hill Climb, where they had a field of over 100 riders and a range of creative prizes, including awards for the fastest time on a fixie, or MTB, biggest improvement from last year, a lantern rouge and spot prizes for 36th, 69th and 90th.

We felt deliberately being last would be a difficult challenge, but targeting a spot prize almost impossible – although that didn’t stop us pondering Byzantine plots to try and achieve it.

The second group rolled in and we briefly coalesced, before those wanting a shorter ride to the café were swinging away again.


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The rest pressed on, heading towards the reservoir and points beyond. I joined G-Dawg, Aether and Crazy Leg, darting across the Military Road ahead of everyone else and while we waited for the others to catch up, talk turned back to the planned route.

G-Dawg was disappointed Aether hadn’t “gone pro” and taped the route outline to his handlebars this time.

Reaching into his back pocket in a “Ta-Da!” moment though, Aether pulled out and brandished a sheet of paper, shaking it vigorously in the wind, like Chamberlain declaring peace in our time.

“I have a print-out of the route here.”

“Careful!” Crazy Legs advised, “If you lose that we could be lost for days!”

On we went, up through the back roads toward the village of Ryal, G-Dawg noted that the previously prolific loose chippings seemed to have been swept from the new road surface, perhaps by the rain, perhaps through the collective passage of Taffy Steve, catching them between his tyres and fork crown. We hoped that now he would finally be able to make it through without getting more stones jammed in his frame. As an added bonus, I hear he’s now also the proud owner of a fabulous new gravel path in his garden.

We were closing in on the Quarry Climb when Sneaky Pete ran his wheel through a pot and punctured, rolling to a stop. Crazy Legs waved the rest of the group on, while I dropped back with him to help out.

Sneaky Pete soon had the tube replaced and together we started wrestling the tyre back onto the rim. As we struggled with the last section, Crazy Legs leaned in to help, his thumb barely grazing the sidewall as the tyre popped suddenly into place.

“Your welcome,” he said distractedly, while gazing in awe at his newly revealed, super-powerful, “golden thumb”.

We tag-teamed the pump-work and soon had the tyre inflated to an acceptable pressure – well, for cyclists with severely challenged upper-body strength – potentially a massive, herculean and awe-inspiring 30 psi or so. It would (have to) do. Off we went again, now somewhat inexplicably singing “My Sharona” and then following up with “My Angel is a Centrefold.”

As we turned up toward the Quarry, Crazy Legs began relating a conversation with a younger work colleague, who had said two lines that Crazy Legs immediately recognised as a direct quote from the Talking Heads song, “Road to Nowhere.”

“Ah! A Talking Heads fan?” Crazy Legs had enquired.

“Eh? What?” the work colleague was just confused.

“Talking Heads? Road to Nowhere? You know David Byrne?”

“Nah, mate, haven’t got a clue what you’re talking about…”

Apparently this hadn’t been a clever quote, referencing a subversive, 80’s alternative rock group, but actual, real-life management speak, much to Crazy Legs’ disdain. Now though, he was struggling to remember what the offending lines were.

“I’m just guessing, but I bet it wasn’t ‘and you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack,’” I suggested.

“No, it wasn’t that,” Crazy Legs confirmed and immediately started singing, “And you may find yourself, living in a shotgun shack, and you may find yourself in another part of the world, and you may find yourself, behind the wheel of a large automobile …”

He paused a second …

“Hey! That’s not the Road to Nowhere.”

“Yeah, like I said, I bet it wasn’t ‘and you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack.’

And, to be fair, I was right.”

Much like our all-hands-to-the-pump, tyre-inflation approach, we tag-teamed the run-in too, taking turns to drive us onwards and were at the café in short-order, where, true gent that he is, Sneaky Pete insisted on paying for our coffee and cakes as a (wholly unnecessary, but thoughtful) thank you for our assistance in helping with his puncture.

Crazy Legs is already planning to carry a pocketful of tacks to drop in front of Sneaky Pete on the run into the café next week.


Main topics of conversation at the coffee stop

Orders secured, we ventured out into the garden to finds the rest of the mob enjoying what could potentially be our last outside café stop of 2018.

Here we found Szell and I learned that he’s actually a restorative dentist and not, as I thought, an ex-Nazi intent of finding out “if it’s safe.” He then started on a mini-tirade, seemingly intent on insulting everyone at the table by association and the rest of the world by direct implication. Merchant bankers, teachers, Talking Heads, Lloyd Cole, the NHS, cosmetic surgery, dental veneers, C-list celebrities, reality television shows … it went on.

The rant seemed to be heading towards an all encompassing, scintillating climax, but I was heading toward coffee refills …

“Between inhuman looking lip implants and ridiculously artificial dental veneers, we’re on the cusp of …” Szell pontificated, but sadly (or, maybe gladly?) I didn’t manage to catch what exactly it was that we were on the cusp of. At that point in time, additional caffeine intake seemed much more important than learning the horrendous fate of civilised society.

Crazy Legs had removed his helmet to reveal a bad case of fungal cap – his Bianchi casquette, spotted and dotted with patches of mould. This, he determined was either a result of storing the cap in his garage, or perhaps, he suggested the proof that as we get older, we start to exude fungus …

This was the cap Crazy Legs had bought after I’d harangued him to replace his previous, wonky-brimmed effort, by suggesting it made him look like the village idiot. Naturally then, the demise of his current, fungal cap was all my fault.

“Anyway, I don’t know who made you the arbiter of taste,” he concluded. To be fair, neither did I.

Loud and persistent barking drew our attention to the distant hills and eventually a pack of hounds were to be seen tearing across an open field and presaging the arrival of the local hunt. There was obviously no fox, but the Colossus did suggest the leading hound was an odd russet colour and seemingly had a distinctly bushy tail…

The hounds were soon followed by the local horse-faced toffs on their very, very big, very, very expensive, horse-faced horses. We were just happy they didn’t seem to be heading our way

Meanwhile, Aether set his own, metaphorical, fox running amongst the hounds, when he politely enquired of a late arriving OGL, if now was perhaps a timely opportunity for the club to break with long-established tradition and fully-embrace the 18th century and the glorious emancipation of mankind … by holding an AGM for club members. Radical, audacious, revolutionary, I know and, much like the hunt, just as likely to see the fur flying.


We set out for home, somehow split into different groups and I joined one that had become intermingled with the Back Street Boys. When the inevitable attack went on Berwick Hill, I let it go and found myself trailing Captain Black, content to ride at my own pace.

He glanced back, “Ah, you’re obviously suffering from winter-bikitis,” he remarked. I explained that I hadn’t even thought about it and just picked out the Pug from habit, missing a glorious opportunity for one last Holdsworth, carbon-hurrah and being perhaps the only one out on a winter bike.

“Tsk, tsk,” he chided, “Schoolboy error.” True enough. He then decided to show me what I was missing, accelerating smoothly away, while I clung (more or less) to his rear wheel, unable to take a turn on the front even if I’d wanted to. (I didn’t).

With the help of Captain Black’s motor-pacing, we began to close on a small knot of our riders who’d become detached from the Back Street Boys’ train. He dragged me across the gap and, when the majority swung away left, I was able to latch onto Spoons as we entered the Mad Mile.

With the Peugeot in full stealth-mode and giving its best impersonation of silent running, I’m not even sure he knew I was there and engaged in blatant wheel-sucking, until I popped out, waved him off and swung the opposite way around the roundabout for my solo ride home.

The rest of the ride back was as smooth and serene as the outbound trip. I was tired and in no hurry, so I got to enjoy the perfect weather – might as well make the most of it, it isn’t going to last.


YTD Totals: 6,124 km / 3,805 miles with 74,898 metres of climbing

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Losing Control

Losing Control

Club Run, Saturday 18th March, 2017

My Ride (according to Strava)

Total Distance:                                  100 km / 62 miles with 602 metres of climbing

Ride Time:                                          4 hours 00 minutes

Average Speed:                                25.1 km/h

Group size:                                         26 riders, 1 (vaping) FNG

Temperature:                                    12°C

Weather in a word or two:          Chill and wet


 

RIDE 18 MAR
Ride Profile

The Ride:

Well, I have to admit, I got that very badly wrong. Expecting and dressed for a relatively brisk, but mainly dry day, what we actually got was prolonged showers that seemed drive the temperatures down whenever they swept over us, so it felt noticeably chillier than the recorded and forecast 12°C. Part way into the ride I pulled on my rain jacket in the face of one hard shower and kept it on until I was about 5 miles from home on the way back.

Had I been less trusting of the weather forecast, I may have reverted to the Peugeot and enjoyed full mudguard protection, but I didn’t, so I got a soggy bottom and a black bin bag to sit on in the café. I finished the ride as mud be-splattered as if I’d just finished Paris-Roubaix in foul weather and the bike got a liberal coating of mud and crud. Not to worry, the mount scrubbed up quite nicely afterwards, even if I can’t say the same for the rider.

I should have noticed this wasn’t going to be the still, calm and mostly dry day promised, when the first thing I noticed was the smoke from a factory chimney in the valley floor being blown out almost at right-angles, a dirty-white, ragged banner, flapping against a sky of unrelenting grey.

The first rain shower hit as I was crossing the river, audibly ticking off my helmet and there was enough surface water to keep my overshoes gleaming wetly black, before they became, like everything else, daubed and dulled by mud and general road filth.

I passed a few other cyclists as I rode in, universally looking under-prepared and under-dressed and even including one brave soul in shorts. In March? In Northern England? Madness.

The rowing club seemed to have grasped the niceties of the weather much better than us cyclists, there was no mass of rowers out on the water, or even preparing to go out, only a hard core, two or three small sculls, way upstream and far enough away to look like insects, skittering over the rippled surface like startled water-boatmen.


Main topics of conversation at the start:

Grover was out for the second week in a row, but this time had swapped his posh Pinarello for a sturdy, steel-framed Raleigh, complete with ancient, 3-speed, Sturmey Archer hub gears. He challenged OGL to feel the weight of his bike, which he suggested belonged alone in a super-heavyweight division.

OGL wrapped two hands around the top tube, flexed sinewy muscles, gave a grunt of exertion and pulled. The bike didn’t budge. He refocussed and tried again and slowly, waveringly, the bike rose up and was held long enough for its weight to be fully assessed, before being dropped heavily back down to the ground with an explosive, “Ooph!” If he spends time off at a chiropractor in the next few days, we’ll know why.

If Grover found last week on his posh, featherweight, plastic bike hard going, he wasn’t doing himself any favours this time out.

My slowly decaying MTB with its ever more restricted gears came in for discussion, with the Red Max asserting: “You only ever need 1 gear.”

“That,” I agreed, “Is perfectly true, you do only need one gear, but it has to be the right one.”

The Prof had apparently been discussing one of his bike reclamation projects with Caracol, suggesting he could resurrect something rideable from a trashed blue frame with a 58cm top tube. (I didn’t dare ask the provenance of the frame.)

The Prof pressed Caracol to decide if he was interested, while Caracol pressed the Prof back for more details about what exactly it was he was agreeing to. After a lengthy back and forth, it became apparent that the frame was the same, not-quite-right size as Caracol’s current winter hack, so it probably wasn’t worth pursuing.

“Anyway,” The Prof concluded, “I don’t think this blue frame is particularly aesthetically pleasing.”

I have to admit at this point Red Max and I looked at each other, looked at the Prof’s eccentric, small-wheeled velocipede and both shook our heads, wondering what exactly constituted aesthetically pleasing bike design in his book … and just how much this digressed from the more established view.

“I wish I had a pair of magic specs like yours.” Max summed up, looking pointedly and quizzically at the Prof’s bike.

The Red Max himself is having bike sourcing problems of his own, having become embroiled in what is turning into a bike-buying odyssey of Homeric proportions. Mrs. Max surprised him by suggesting a budget over twice what he expected, which has opened up a massive range of possibilities – in fact, far too many possibilities, along with the added pressure of making sure that if he’s spending that much he gets the decision spot-on.

He now appears paralysed by indecision, which has left him wondering if this wasn’t Mrs. Max’s intent all along and if her motives were an act of deep, deep cunning, rather than great and sweeping benevolence. The longer he prevaricates and second-guesses himself, the more he seems to be leaning toward the former.

There was then only time then for the Prof to draw my attention to our FNG, vaping away contentedly pre-ride, emitting vast clouds of smoke like an enthusiastic, am-dram production of “The Rocky Horror Show.” Rather unusual preparation for a bike ride, I thought, but each to their own.


I rode out with Red Max and learned the Monkey Butler Boy was off riding with his new club mates, following a carefully structured training programme from his two personal coaches and happily and unsurprisingly shunning the opportunity to ride with a bunch of wrinkly, old blokes. The Red Max suggested he was yet have an awkward, but unavoidable conversation with OGL about the change in club allegiances and the fact another of our youngsters was leaving in order to find proper support.

This is one of a number of fundamental issues that currently plague us, but for me is not quite as pressing, or as contentious as the unnecessary friction of trying to ride in one mass group and at a pace largely dictated by our slowest rider.

As well as proving a sizeable obstacle for any traffic trying to get around us, this practice is particularly chafing for anyone who has maintained any degree of activity throughout the winter and now find their rides curbed and constrained by those newly arisen from hibernation and still trying to find their legs.


 

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We’ve suggested numerous times that we split into several, different-paced groups before we set out, but OGL seems fearful of losing control, or influence, or prestige … or who knows what. He then spends a good amount of the ride bellowing instructions to try and knock the pace back, as we inevitably become strung out and splintered. This I assume he finds as tiresome as everyone else, but who knows?

Today, it seems there was to be a tipping point and if we weren’t allowed to organise a sensible, pre-ride split, we could manufacture one on the road. Things started to kick-off when we pulled over for a Prof Pee and Pit Stop and an unknown, lone rider, completely unaffiliated with our club rode past and off down the road.

As we set off again, De Uitheems Bloem hit the front and, assuming the lone cyclist up ahead was the Red Max, upped the pace to try and reel him back in. I would later explain to our Dutch friend that he should have known it wasn’t Max as, although dressed in signature red, this rider wasn’t giggling hysterically. Meanwhile the real Red Max was lurking at a few wheels back, out of sight, uncharacteristically quiet and watching with interest.

The pace went up as we closed in on the lone rider and as we hit a few inclines the shouts behind began in earnest. Most of these were riddled with the kind of expletives that would make a sailor blush, but at least these bits were intelligible, the rest just sounded like a disturbed troupe of howler monkeys sounding off.

We caught and passed the lone rider, De Uitheems Bloem realising his mistake too late and more shouting and incoherent screaming followed us up a sharp rise. There was no collective decision, no predetermined plan, no verbal acknowledgment, but cold and wet and sick of being shouted at I think everyone simply decided they’d had enough.

“Ease up!” one last shout sounded out.

“What was that?” someone asked.

“Speed up?” someone suggested, so we did.

A group of maybe a dozen of us now broke clear. It had been a difficult gestation and birth, with much shouting and swearing, but a decisive split had been forced. Those behind now had the opportunity to regroup and continue at a pace they found comfortable, while those looking for something a little more strenuous could push on without further shrill, ear-piercing censure.

I had a brief chat with Taffy Steve about how our club needs reforming and mentioned the website and forum as a singular case in point. This is supposedly the one, sacrosanct, universal source of communication for all members to use. I asked Taffy Steve if he’d been on it recently – obviously not – so he hadn’t seen the state of the forum. Every page here has seemingly been hacked by someone spamming messages about running shoes, which the site admin have done nothing to remove. This suggests to me that the club website is unequivocally dead.


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Hacked Off

I nonetheless suggested it was worth checking out, as half way down the list of spam emails offering Nike Air Max shoes at unbelievable prices, Grover had started a new topic simply and succinctly titled “Crap” containing just the one heartfelt message:

“Came on the forum tonight to see if there was any info about the upcoming Sloane Trophy road race – can’t believe what utter balls is on every thread or subject, am I old and grumpy? I’ll have to speak to someone about the Sloane as I’m not coming on the forum again. See you all soon.”

This got Taffy Steve pondering if our in-house tech-fiend, Crazy Legs was behind the hack, sort of the Fancy Bear equivalent for amateur cycling clubs. I felt it unlikely, but couldn’t completely rule out the possibility.

We climbed up to Dyke Neuk, swooped down and then up through Mitford and, after a bit of prevarication and dithering, set sail for Middleton Bank.

I joined De Uitheems Bloem on the front, where we talked about population displacement caused by climate change and extreme weather, how this led to over-crowding, civil unrest and ultimately conflict and how everything was minutely and mutually interconnected. See, it’s not always just errant nonsense that dominates our conversation, although I admit that it does form the overwhelming bulk of what we talk about.

Biden Fecht, De Uitheems Bloem and Captain Black attacked up Middleton Bank and opened a sizeable lead. I pulled into the gap, before easing and dropping back to where Taffy Steve and Goose followed as we approached the top.

Once again, there was to be no regrouping after the climb and the chase to the café began. Taffy Steve was in unstoppable form and powered up the pursuit, while I hung onto his back wheel as long as I could, until the speed, combined with the uncomfortable bouncing and bumping across the rough road surface shook me loose.

Goose overtook me too and I let him go, suspecting I could close the gap, if not overhaul him completely on the last climb to the café.

Taffy Steve gloriously failed (just) to close down the front group, Goose and I swept past a detached and solitary OGL on the final climb and then we all bundled into the café, breathless, exhilarated and well deserving of cake and coffee.


Main topics of conversation at the coffee stop:

Taffy Steve declared he has new work boots that make him feel like Miranda Hart whenever he pulls them on and almost compel him to re-enact Miranda-esque pratfalls. I never quite did discover what it was about the boots that impelled this strange behaviour.

This reminded Goose of the sheer horror of having to accompany his daughters to see Miranda live, as a fill-in after his wife had pulled a sickie. Here he found himself a lone, largely unamused and completely nonplussed male, in a room full of uproariously cackling women.

Nevertheless, I felt my horror story of having to endure a Jonas Brothers concert at the concrete toilet bowl that is the Metro Arena was much worse, especially as I was surrounded by thousands of pre-pubescent girls and also had to endure the dreadful, lip-synching support act of Little Mix.

“It doesn’t sound that bad.” Mini Miss ventured, obviously with far greater affinity for this kind of popular-music type thing than I could muster.

“What, two solid hours of solid screaming?” I asked.

“And that was just you.” Taffy Steve concluded, before suggesting I must have spent the night looking like the incarnation of Edvard Munch’s The Scream.

My tale reminded Goose of an unfortunate TV interview when the members of Little Mix had been asked what it was they most regretted about the past year. Not realising they were fully miked up, one had turned to another and muttered, far too clearly, “anal” for all the world and their adoring public to hear. Oops.

This led to a discussion about Dragon voice-to-text transcription software, which Taffy Steve suggested was too sensitive, as a colleague found out when his dictated board report included extracts from the two women behind his desk, who’d been actively discussing a severe case of chlamydia while he, well, beavered away shall we say?

To counter this, Goose was impressed by some worthy, pioneering research work at one university, which had taught a computer to lip-read. This I contrasted sharply with some profound research at my university that has … err … determined which dance moves men find the most sexually appealing …

Mini Miss was having problems with her Garmin, which kept losing its charge, although she said she kept it plugged in by the side of her bed at all times.  I have to admit I was a bit confused about why she needed it in the bedroom, but had determined it was probably best not to look at her Strava profile.

She bravely surrendered the device to a couple of our tech-monkeys so they could vaguely prod and poke the screen to see if they could make it behave. I don’t think they made it any better, but they probably didn’t make it any worse either – and it did keep them quiet and occupied until it was time to leave.


I rode back chatting with Goose, while half-listening to a slightly uncomfortable conversation behind, where Red Max was explaining to OGL why the Monkey Butler Boy felt the need to join a club with kids his own age, structured and comprehensive training advice, involved coaching and (not to be underestimated) decent looking, modern kit.

I caught up with a thoroughly disgruntled OGL a little further on, complaining, “I think everyone must be on bloody EPO today!” I tried diplomatically to suggest he had to let it go, both actually and figuratively and that the club would not only survive, but could actually flourish if he was prepared to loosen control just a bit.

Then everyone was turning off and I entered the Mad Mile, with one of the young kids reprising the BFG role of escort for a short way, before I turned south for my solo ride home.

Footnote:

Apparently, the general disgruntlement carried over to Sunday’s ride and then resulted in the formation of a shadowy and covert cabal, the “Faster Rides Group”. There then followed a lot of behind the scenes manoeuvring, collusion, horse trading, secret negotiation, intense talking, pointed persuasion and maybe, who knows, hacking, extortion, sexting, bribery, wire-tapping, arm-twisting, fake news, air-guitars and Chinese burns. I’m ruling nothing out.

The result though, and it is a result, is that we now have faster ride groups officially sanctioned and organised for the next 4 Saturdays, with appointed group leaders and a plan to see how this works out for all involved.

Small steps.


YTD Totals: 1,228 km / 763 miles with 13,060 metres of climbing