There was another great turnout today, 22 of us left the shop and headed out with Delamere Forest as the target for today. The group set a good pace, as the wind was mostly at our backs, and it didn't take long to get into a good rhythm. The advantage of a large group is there is somewhere to shelter if you start to tire and there were a couple of new lads who we helped along by riding them into the pack so they could have a rest.
We reached the edge of Elsmere Port, and my legs were feeling good, which was lucky, because as we hit the oil Site Road there was a break at the front of the group of 4 riders. I thought to myself what better test of my speed and stamina could there be, and seeing as I was at the rear of the pack the challenge was a little harder. I accelerated and hit over 30mph as I passed the group and started to pull the break in. I managed to get to the back of the break before they hit the Perimeter gates of the Shell site. I was absolutely made up. My average for the half mile was 30.9mph. Maybe, just maybe I wont be the Lanterne Rouge at the Ten Minutes of Hell!
But my euphoria was soon dashed as we were pulled over by the Shell Gestapo, sorry, security guard, who was unhappy with the way we rode our bikes with wanton abandon on HIS road! We made our excuses and exited stage right. Did I mention he was small?
We then headed out round Helsby, through to Manley and Delamere, and the going got decidedly "lumpy" to quote the coach! One of the climbs looked like a wall rising up in front of us. It was only a short climb, but must have been over 10% all the way! I felt good though. As always when I hit a hill it seems like I have hit reverse as every one streams past, but I didn't drop off the back too far today.
The problem with heading South East today, was that we would have to go back in a North West direction, into the wind, and this was when the Woes started. The group fractured a little as we climbed up and sped down the hills back towards Helsby. Unfortunately one of the group was falling too far back to be able to see the rest, so I slowed and waited for him. As we started to work back towards the group we were caught at a traffic light and that was the end of our team ride. It was tough trying to ride as a duo into the wind, and not knowing the area too well, I decided to head back the way we had come which meant running the gauntlet of the Shell Gestapo and worse still a headwind all the way. We eventually got to the Boat Museum at Elsmere Port, where I was treated to a great photo opportunity! Not every day you see a Naval boat on the Manchester Ship Canal!
I left Mark at Elsmere as he was heading along the coast path back to Wallasey, and since I have been home I have heard he decided to get a train back. Sensible move as the wind was getting stronger and he was a long way from home. Sometimes you have to accept when enough is enough.
So now I was on my own! At least there were only 15 miles to go, but they seemed like the longest hardest 15 miles I have ever done. But on reflection they were probably the best, as it is all good training for the TT!!
I got back to the shop, and a couple of the lads were there. Apparently the group fractured badly all the way back and the group didn't finish together. I think now is the time to split the group into an elite Team group and a club group. There is a meeting on Monday night where I think this will be decided. I will probably ride the club runs, but who knows what tomorrow will bring?
The Team had a great bit of exposure this week. One of the reps that visits the shops was out riding in his Team Vita Kit, and stopped at a cafe. And met a certain British cycling hero, Mr Bradley Wiggins.
|Will Brad be wearing a Vita shirt one day?|