Sunday, 8 April 2012

Join the club.......

A day of firsts, firstly, I plucked up the courage to go for a ride with the local cycling club, I kept putting it off but with a Sunday off I finally bit the bullet, I'm a shy boy at heart despite the gruff exterior. The weather looked a bit ropey so I layered up, perhaps a bit too much and headed to the meeting point. Was I early ? did everyone change their mind when they heard I was riding ? because when I got there it was just me, only mild panic, I do like being on time though, even early. Then riders started arriving all looking fit and slim and riding steel exotica or carbon steeds and even some couples on tandems, all very friendly to the new boy on his shiny Trek. By the time everyone had assembled there must have a been about thirty riders in all and I was asked about my fitness(lack of) to gauge which group to ride with. The quick types soon took off and I rode with what was a middle group of nine but some of these looked lean and quick.

We headed up to Wheddon Cross at a nice steady pace, it was nice riding up with someone to talk to, I kept pace with another recent recruit called Bob who I'd ridden with at a cycle week mtb ride last year and a nice man called Chris who extolled the virtues of the club. I rode at a good pace and this was the first time I had ridden all the way up to Wheddon Cross without taking a breather. I regretted wearing my waterproof jacket though, it's not the most high tech garment something I'd describe as boil in the bag. We stopped for coffee, another first no draughty bus shelters today, at the Rest and be Thankful pub, no cafe up here it had to be the pub. After a couple of nice coffee's we headed up the hill towards Raleighs Cross heading for Elworthy, I was at the back but looking at my stats it was the quickest I had ridden up this stretch. Once on top and on the flat the pace ramped up with the tailwind we now had, the quicker ones in the group where pulling away but I stayed with my peleton of three, a brief glimpse of the Garmin and we where cruising at 24 mph ! A couple of lumpy bits just before and after Raleighs and the group split, then I felt my rear tyre going soft. Thankfully Chris stayed with me and helped re inflate what seemed to be a slow puncture. Down Elworthy hill far more enjoyable than riding up offering spectacular views of the vale and down to Elworthy Cross where the rest of the group where waiting, discussing gear ratios as cyclists do. Note to self, bigger cassette may be needed.

Into the headwind now and heading back towards home, a nice man on a Cube who's name I didn't catch told me to ride on his wheel to shelter from the wind, very kind, he must of seen the suffering in my eyes :) It was busy on the A39 as usual but riding in a group seemed to slow drivers down a bit. The group started to peel off as we neared Minehead and we all went our separate ways. It was nice to meet so many like minded individuals, everyone was very friendly, subscription in the post. First ride done and overall I think I rode ok, I think I rode quicker but Strava and Garmin don't seem to agree on my average speed, think I'll go for the quicker.

Distance:32.50 mi
Avg Speed:11.6 mph
Elevation Gain:2,514 ft

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great to read your blog. I too am an older middle aged male. I found your blog to be very inspirational as I have also Joined the Club recently and not been along yet.... could be be this Sunday. Would nice to meet you, my names Rob. I stoped smoking at Christmas after many years of heavy smoking and took-up cycling on the first sunny day in Febuary. I used to cycle a lot a long long time ago, even did a bit on the Hern Hill Velodrome, hope to see you on Sunday.