Sunday, 23 June 2013

Palefish CC Birthday Spin in the wind

I can't believe where the time has gone! A little over a year ago I decided to start the club, and not in my wildest dreams would I have expected it to be so popular!

I can't take all the credit though, the most important people in the club are the members themselves. Thanks to you all for sticking with it, even when we have taken a wrong turn or two, and ended up on an unmade road, we always manage to get back on the smooth stuff and have a laugh about it!! I mustn't forget to mention the members of the Facebook Group who have yet to join us on the road, the community feel on that page is great and there certainly have been some great conversations over the year and a lot of advice shared.

So, to celebrate the anniversary of the club I planned a route that would take us round the Wirral, with a stop at our favourite Cafe at the half way point. When I was planning the route, I was hoping for warm June weather and a light summer breeze! I suppose picking the day before Wimbledon I should have realised that this wasn't going to be the case.
All week I have been hoping the forecast was wrong. We were lucky on Tuesday and had a warm night for our hill climbing 10mile loops of West Kirby (just like the old days doing spaghetti loops over the hill) and even Thursday nights event at The Bike Shop in Moreton was dry. While I mention it, I would like to thank Jay, Steve and the team at the shop for putting on a great night, especially organising the reps that brought the Torq tasting bar, and a favourite of the night, the Shimano Ultegra Di2 bike.

I know there will be a few letters to Santa for a new electronic groupset this year!

Back to today though, and the weather lived up to expectations. I woke to the sound of driving rain and wind, a real tempting combination. I wasn't surprised as my phone began taking messages from sensible Palefishers who were deciding to stay in the warm and dry and not venture out into the wild morning.

There were 28 signed up to the ride mid week, and by the time I left the house we were down to 24, and eventually 17 of us met up at the 12th Man.
We decided that if needed we would adapt the route as we rode along, but as an homage to Ken who couldn't make it today we still rode out to Birkenhead, where we met Steve by the Seacombe ferry. The River was flowing fast, and we knew we were in for a work out when we rounded the corner in New Brighton and headed back towards West Kirby.

Group photo before the Wind hits!
 We were not disappointed, on queue as we came off of the cycle path and onto the road, there was the wind.
To say it was challenging is an understatement. Not only was it a head wind, it was gusting, and grabbing at our wheels, from all sides! I think the average speed along the stretch along the seafront, and then down Leasowe Road was only about 8mph! It was just like riding up hill, but without the benefit of the downhill bit after!!!
This video doesn't really capture the true brutality of the wind!!

I made the decision to change the route as we approached Meols. I felt that for us to actually enjoy the ride, we needed a little respite from the wind, so we diverted down the lanes to Greasby, instead of riding on to West Kirby, and then rode up to Irby and into Lower Heswall. Now with shelter from the elements, we made better progress and it didn't take long for us to get to spin through the lanes to the Eureka Cafe.

I had planned the ride to get us to the Cafe after the rush of all the other clubs being there, and it worked out well. The only problem was that 18 of us descending at one time led to a large queue for Anne and the team to cope with. And cope they did, as usual. It was good to see Eureka filled with Fishes! The next jersey order is nearly here, so next time there should be more Green and White in the photo.

Palefish CC here......
Palefish CC There and Everywhere! 

Palefish CC ready to roll from Eureka Cafe
In the last half mile to the Cafe, Dave C had mentioned that he thought his Bottom Bracket was knackered. I had thought mine was also done in earlier in the week, but it turned out to be my pedals, so I shared this with Dave. As we rode away from the Cafe, it was apparent that it was more terminal for him. It really did sound like there was a bag of spanners suspended under his bike! And it just got worse.
The route was planned to take us back to Birkenead, but seeing as Ken was not with us, and if we did we would have another long stretch into the wind, it was agreed that we would ride back through the centre of Wirral through the lanes. Along the way, as usual, members of the group dropped off on their own routes home, and apart from Steve suffering a puncture, we all made it back without further incident, and those of us going back to the Twelfth Man were treated to a nice tail wind for the last half mile!
Dave also got back ok, but now needs to make a trip to the Bike Shop for some TLC on his bike. The sound of those bearings crunching will stay with me for a long time!!!!
So year one is over, and I wonder what is on the horizon for the next one?
Whatever it is, I'm sure it will be fun, and there will be a shoal of Palefish CC along to enjoy the ride.

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