After my last blog I was about to get back on the bike after an enforced lay off with a stomach bug, well not wanting to do things by halves I had one Zwift session of about an hour on the Thursday before meeting up with some of my SNCC crew for the “North Ride”.
The North ride as the name suggests heads North up into the peak district, myself, Luke, Chris, Leigh and Dean waited at the Hurt arms pub for the peloton to arrive, when I say arrives, it’s not like they stop, it’s a case of get rolling and pick up the train. We did this without issue and with about 25 others headed towards Matlock on the A6. After a 4 hour stop… for Chris to fix a puncture we rolled through and eventually began the climb up Beeley, 2 miles at an average of 6%, lovely.
I’d purposely moved to the front of the group, I wasn’t sure if the fireworks would go off, a few featherweight climbers set the pace, I hung in there to start with then found my own pace, passing a few, losing ground to one or two others before being joined by the SNCC juggernaut that is Leigh Veldeman, I tucked in behind for the final few hundred metres then pulled up to have a rest to allow the group to reform on a misty top. For the last 0.6 miles of the climb I’d put out 20W more than I did on the hill climb, a good indicator that my form is building.
The rest of the ride was harder going as my lack of endurance over the longer distance began to bite back. The climb up to Winster saw me lose contact near to the top with 6-7 riders including Luke and Leigh (Chris had retired due to punctures, Dean having helped him had formed his own group). I pushed really hard up that climb, desperate to stay on, they were always in sight and thanks to a car who I tucked in behind I made it. At that point the skinny climbers dropped all of us, due in part to numbers but the three of us carried on, Luke then turning for work before Leigh dragged me all the way home, cheers mate.
Best week for a long time
The following week I rode an hour on Monday, did 33 miles on the Wednesday club ride and followed that up with the club ride “Fast Friday” on where I put in some big efforts with Leigh, Brent, Dean and a really strong Matt Bagshawe, great fun, another 40 miles in the legs.
Sunday – it’s not a race, yeah right.
The Long Eaton reliability ride attracted some really strong riders including Adam Kenway and Joe Clark, two riders I have the utmost respect for. Having rolled in with Brent, a back on form Jake, Luke, Chris, Matt and Melly we waited for the race, sorry ride to commence. Prior to this I’d got a hot chocolate from the fancy coffee wagon, not sure how he flew to the sun and back to warm the water to molten lava temperature but my tongue still hurts now. Anyway, back to the race…
We set off at a million miles an hour into a really strong headwind, the peloton stretched out pro style with echelons forming across the road, sadly I found myself in the wind all the time, I just couldn’t get out of it despite help from those around me. It was great fun riding in the wheels of Joe, Adam and others above my ability, Brent and Jake also making things look easy. I battled and battled, trying to stay with the main group but after 30 miles I saw Luke getting dropped, I decided that trying to stay on was futile and hooked up with him then a few others on the run for Ashbourne.
In Ashbourne my gears jammed (reliability ride yeah), this meant I was in too hard of a gear to climb, my legs fried, and then eventually once I’d changed gear I’d lost 100-200 metres to Luke and the others. Try as I might I just couldn’t get back on, I got within about 45 seconds at one point, not bad considering I’d been on my own for about 10 miles. Eventually having dropped down the Via Gelia to Cromford we all met back up had a chat about things then I rode the 4 miles home, all uphill, 77 miles in total and some great efforts in my legs.
Having cleaned up my bike on Tuesday, it didn’t seem too well and to be fair nor did I, I’ve got another dreaded cough/cold, not great when I have the Big Red Ride coming up Sunday and then my 1st race the week after.
Bike to the bike, the chain was catching the front derailleur and having ridden with my club mates on Wednesday it wouldn’t change gear without a lot of hassle too. Although still a great ride, having taken the bike to the bike shop yesterday they confirmed my left shifter is broken. Not good.
Replacement Ultegra 6800 shifter are £200 for the set so I’m on the hunt for a second one or I might even drop to 5800 and get a pair for around £100 + fitting. For now the bike shop has locked it into the big ring, was hoping to test tonight on the Fast Friday ride but it’s lashing it down so it looks like I’ll have to be brave or wait until Saturday. Riding the whole of the Red Ride without the option of the little ring is not ideal, to be fair I doubt I’ll need it, the bigger concern is my cough and cold, hopefully that’ll shift before Sunday as I have my new SNCC club kit to break in..
Report back soon.