Sunday, 3 July 2016

Five go mad in Northants

Wow, wow, wow, what a ride. What a laugh. What a day! After all those solo rides I'd been really looking forward to a group ride with some of my club-mates. On a beautiful day I arrived at C&D Cycles to find Steve, Andy P, Nat and Frank. Uh-oh I thought...I'm in trouble here. Oh well, just try to keep up for as long as possible. Well without too much blowing of my own trumpet I think I did a bit better than that.

Heading East on a day with little wind probably helped a lot as it's much flatter than any other direction out of Kettering. We flew along for the first hour and had covered 20 miles in just an hour and five minutes. At 40 miles my average was still 17.8 mph. That's typical for the company I was keeping but for me it's absolutely unheard of. I also got 46 Strava trophies. Yeah I know, I'm a bit too pleased with myself today.

The banter was flowing from the off and the above pic isn't Steve falling off his bike. It's Steve reenacting Mark Baird falling off his bike. Poor Mark his ears should have burning really because his inability to contain his excitement about new Campagnola parts is part of C&D Cycles CC folklore and was the topic of conversation for much of the ride! We all like a bit of shiny though. I now have American Classics Aero 420 wheels calling to me...Richard...Richard...we'd look great on your Propel!

I was a bit concerned as the route progressed as it felt similar to the way to Thorney and the closed chip shop. However Steve wasn't making navigation errors today so we didn't go there after-all. There were loads of people out and about today. We saw many other groups of lycra loonies, joggers and even found ourselves on a race route at one point.

There's a club rule second only to Rule #1. Rule #2 is: If you ride past Hammerton Zoo, you have to get a picture at the sign. Nat took this so any semblance of glamour is missing from our mottley crew. I was told to eat the banana suggestively, luckily for everyone that wasn't caught on camera!

There look I wasn't telling fibs. Very quick for me! The truth about my whizziness today does however lie in the company I was keeping. Sitting on a strong wheel really really helped.

At Titchmarsh Andy proudly showed us a sign he made whilst Steve wooed the shop keeper with his obvious charms. Unlike the Thrapston sign he also did, there appears to be a lot going on in Titchmarsh!

Rules of the ride forbid me from telling you what we were discussing at this point. Let's just say we were in absolute fits of giggles. It was also at this point that I put a snake in Steve's jersey pocket. Obviously it was plastic. It's been in my tool bag since a colleague put it there, I just thought it was time to pass it on. 

It wasn't far from Titchmarsh, back through Thrapston and onto Twywell via two hills I've never liked. Then something unheard of happened. Steve got cramp! I've never seen this before and I'd feel sorry for him but it did give the rest of us a chance. Usually I get dropped from Twywell back to Warkton but today I just stuck to Andy P's wheel. Even after riding hard I was able to explode up the hill to Stamford Road. I have no idea what's happened. It must be all those morning rides. I hope this continues!

To end the ride we returned to C&D Cycles where as ever Andy F was a good host. Coffee and cake was required and it was there in abundance. Those wheels I mentioned were sitting there taunting me and as usual we lusted after all manner of things. I promised Andy I'd pop in during the week to make purchases. Number one of my list of needs is new cleats. Once again I've wrecked the ones on my shoes. I think they're at least a year old though so that's a few thousand miles!

There they are hanging up on my purpose fitted shoe hooks. The other thing that needs to happen is I need to steam clean my sweaty helmet. It really is quite minging. If I squeeze the felt inside the helmet it drips!

OK I can't finish this without a mention to the epic first two stages of the Tour de France. Cav's win yesterday was just brilliant. He did Kittel over like a kipper and proves once again he should never be written off. Today's stage was just as good with the World Champion Peter Sagan showing that he's pure class. It's too early to really talk GC but Froome is well placed and Contador has suffered after crashing on both days.

That's it.
Happy Pedaling!

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