Saturday, 3 May 2014

One year anniversary of my first C&DCYCLES shop ride

It was on the 4th of May 2013 that I went on my first C&DCYCLES shop ride. That day I didn't know anyone there but had a friend of a friend, Nathan 'Hightower' Gallon greet me and welcome me to the club. People I met that day and over the coming weeks have changed my life in terms of cycling. I love this club and especially what I love about this club are my brothers and sisters of the road. I hate missing a Saturday shopride and because of the support of my family I very rarely have to.

Due to the large numbers of riders and the mix of abilities in the club we now split the Saturday ride into two groups. Those who want the traditional beginners ride and a group for those who want to go faster. As I have the Squires and Shires Sportive tomorrow I wanted a gentle spin and volunteered to be the 'tailgunner,' or 'arse end Charlie,' for the traditional ride (I'm not going to call it the slow ride, because that's not accurate.) Arse end Charlie is the rider at the back that makes sure no one gets left behind and assists the ride leader with things like pace and communication. 

As the Major was smashing his big ring with the other testosterone laden quick lads and Andy was busy, today's ride was led by Corporal Jones. Jonesy the begetting baker, did a fine job today despite being once again plagued by insects. He really is the unlucky Eddie of the road with insect incidents. So far I have been with him when; a wasp has flown into his jersey and stung him, a fly has got in his eye and today another fly exploded all over his glasses (note to all that's why you need eye-wear when you ride.)

Owen got a puncture

Just 1.8 miles into the ride Owen hit a pothole and punctured. To be fair to him it's pretty impossible to miss all the potholes on Rockingham Road and would be quicker to point out the intact bits than all the craters. Unlike other clubs we don't just leave people and expect them to catch up. We did however stand around and laugh in the unhelpful way that is common among groups of men.

Tyreweld in hindsight wasn't a great plan

It was a big old hole in the tube but Owen wasn't that confident about his spare and opted to inflate with tyreweld. Oh dear it really wasn't a good idea and just got foam everywhere. Of more help I'm sure was the way that the mocking and sniggering turned to fits of laughter and hyperventilation. There's nothing like a bit of support and well that was nothing like a bit of support!

The offending product

Back to the ride and the first significant slope was my old nemesis Rushton Hill. At this point, as there's a picture of them coming up, I'd like to say how nice it was to see some more ladies in the group today. Wednesday in particular was a bit masculine or as Nathan described it: 'a biggest balls contest.' The smuttier among you will be thinking 'oh yeah Rich like a ride with the ladies do you?' Well calm yourselves down. You might also remember that as a Nurse (where I get to see more than enough ladies at work,)  I get on my high horse about health promotion and in particular the role of exercise in physical and emotional well being. All sports need more female participation and cycling needs to do as much as possible to encourage more people to ride.

Claire and Rachel conquer the hill

There were more good hills to come. I have a thing with climbs I do regularly. Every now and again I like to ride down them. I do this to teach them a lesson and to make gravity understand that when he's being my friend I appreciate him a lot more. Well today the opposite happened. I almost always ride from East Farndon down the hill to Market Harborough. Today we rode the opposite way and what a splendid hill that is! Good plan Jonesy, I'm definitely doing that again.

I might be taking this tail gunner role to seriously...wait for me

No no I wasn't getting dropped. Even I can cope with a 14mph average. I wanted a photo to reflect the scenery, the splendid weather and get a bit of a group shot. I still can't believe how nice it was out today. It started with a frost but by ride time the light winds and sunshine made it near perfect for cycling. 

Another selfie photobomb thing

The other group did catch us on Farndon Hill and again coming into Rothwell after taking a detour to go up Naesby Hill (masochists,) they were not there for the selfie though. I did inform the Major that I had made up for his absence (I said something to which one of the ladies remarked, I didn't think Steve was with us today.) All excited with myself I told the sweary man that I'd stolen his crown. The potty mouthed maelstrom that ensued left me in no doubt that, there is only one Prince of Profanity.

Maypole dancing advertised at Kelmarsh Hall - news of delays was premature

Missing friends from today's ride had warned us that there could be hold ups due to an event at Kelmarsh Hall. Around this time last year we had to go off road due to such an occasion. This time however there were no such problems and I can only conclude that Maypole Dancing advertised on the board outside the entrance isn't 'all that!'

A Better Group Shot

The ride from Kelmarsh back to Rothwell was one of the highlights of the day. The roads were so quiet that we didn't see a single car between Harrington and the A14. Very pleasant indeed!

OK so that's that done. Another great ride in Northamptonshire and briefly Leicestershire. Good leading, great bunch of people, good banter and the ideal preparation for tomorrow's big ride.

happy Peddaling

ps if you're wondering about my ride name, regular C&DCYCLES rider Ken Matcham lost the use of his rear shifter meaning he had just two gears available via his chainrings. This didn't seem to slow him up but I doubt he'll want too many rides like that.

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