Sunday, 1 July 2012

Rain and Rails on the Onix Twitter ride

As I loaded the bike into the back of the car at 6.30 this morning, in the rain, I did consider putting the bike away, and going back to bed! It took a lot of resolve to carry on loading the car, and set off to pick up Tim. The conversation in the car on the journey to Blackburn through the driving rain was mostly based around "what are we doing?"

We arrived at Onix HQ and the car park was empty, Except for the Onix Team car and two others, it was only 8.20 though!! We were happily surprised to see Phil B from the Club talking to Craig, and also Dermot, another Onix rider in the office and the coffee started to flow and the car park filled up including Dave L from the club too.

Joining the mortals today were the young guns of the Mountivation Cycling Development Academy that Onix sponsor. They are a great bunch of lads who are being put through their paces to get them ready for senior racing. It's not often that you would see 16 year old lads out at 9 o'clock on a Sunday morning in the rain by choice! 
We sheltered in the office for a little longer than planned, hoping that the rain may pass. It didn't and finally, an hour after the planned start time, we rolled gingerly out of the car park. 

Craig had warned us that it wouldn't be long before we met with our first climb. And he wasn't lying! The first 2.5 miles were all up hill! To be fair though, the hills around Blackburn aren't as hard as the short sharp Welsh ones we are used to and I felt quite good. The rolling terrain continued for the next 20 miles, with some tough climbs and some great, if a little tentative, descents. We split from the Mountivation Lads at the 15 mile mark, as they were determined to add a few more hills into their ride! 

The ride into Preston was mostly down hill, a nice respite to the climbing, but to be honest, we put some good efforts in on the flats too.
As we approached Preston I realised we were on the same route that Ken and I had followed on the Manchester to Blackpool night ride last year. 
We stopped at a set of traffic lights and the lads at the front who knew the route warned us of some Tram lines crossing the road ahead, I remembered these from the night ride. As we approached them everyone took a similar line, as the Tram lines dissect the road at a dangerous angle that can eat bike wheels. 
What happened next happened so fast I didn't realise it was happening until my head hit the tarmac and I saw my bike sliding off down the road! To add insult to injury, to avoid me, Tim had taken a different line that was not conducive with upright riding either and he joined me on the Tarmac! We both got up, which is a bonus, and very quickly went to our bikes to check them over before checking ourselves out. I managed to bend the rear Mech hanger and we both picked up some scratches on the bar tape, brake levers and Pedals. 
I landed on the same side as my recent fall, opening up the old wounds, and adding some heavy bruising to my shoulder, and Tim suffered a badly bruised and swollen hand and cuts!
Apparently the bike didn't go into the Tram track gully, but slipped on the rail, low siding me with no chance of recovery. I was glad I was wearing my helmet. I hit the road with so much force that I now need a new Lid, as my "new and only had for a few months" Giro, now has a nice crack across the side of it! 

Once we had sorted ourselves out we carried on through Preston and on to the Coffee stop at Gusta Gusto

Tim still smiling even after an off!
 The Cafe was great and reminded me of Eureka, ( although not as good if you read this Anne!) The staff were very friendly and helpful, especially when Tim asked for some Ice to reduce the swelling on his hand.

After the stop we started our return journey. Both Tim and I had started to feel the effect of the fall, and knees and shoulders and hands were aching and getting stiff. It wasn't a flat route either, and as we hit the hills, I discovered that the damage to the rear mech was worse than I originally thought. As I changed gear into the bigger cogs on the cassette, the Mech started to rub on the spokes on the back wheel. This was an issue as we hit some 10% climbs. Once again I had to walk up a hill, which I was disappointed with as today I could have ridden them if the bike was working! 
A quick fettle from Mike the Onix mechanic worked wonders and for me the rest of the ride was uneventful. 
Which is more than can be said for one of the riders, who after descending a very steep straight long road into Blackburn with only a front brake to control his speed, suffered a massive blow out that ripped the side of his tyre. Luckily we were at the bottom of the hill and just rolling off from a set of traffic lights. A minute earlier and he would have been doing 30mph down hill!! 
Once recovery had been sorted, we set off for the last couple of miles to Onix HQ when another of the lads suffered a rear puncture! 
We eventually rolled back into the car park, glad to be in one piece, and as always after an eventful ride, buzzing and looking forward to the next one. 

It was great to see Craig again and talk about how the company is doing, and also see Mike (Mechanic) and Chris (Photographer) 

I wonder what the next Onix twitter ride will have in store for us? We have had hills, wind, rain, falls, blow outs......... Whatever it is and wherever it is you can be sure that you will feel part of the Onix family and very welcome.

Here is the link to the PHOTO's from Chris, from Crank Photo  

Today's Ride details 

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