When it is good it is very good. This week we managed to get the groups sorted out and the B run went perfectly. It was a really good ride and well thought it was a great improvement on the previous week. Don’t get me wrong though, it was not an easty ride. there were several real sufferers on Sunday, and plenty of hard training. I have a report from Todger on how the A run went and that will come later.

We met up again at Becketts on another frosty morning. It was another good turnout, although China was strangely absent. I later found out that he suffered a double puncture on the way to Becketts and had to head home. The A run set off first under the leadership of Mr. Todd. Keen to get away and ensure that the 2 group structure worked. We had a good sized B run. There was myself, DAS, Nick Selibas, Baywatch, Goldie, Tom Kirk just arriving in time, Mick Wright, Binman, Rob Bishop and Nick Walford. The last two both complaining of illnesses and so wanted to go on the B run. We set out doing a 5 minute rotation. This was working well at an even settled pace and gives you a good chance to have a chat as everyone at some point is riding next to everyone else. The lads kept things interesting by insisting on sprinting for all 30 signs, despite claimed illnesses and lack of form.

We avoided the lanes at first on the way out, heading down Gorcott on the main road and then right at Studley and up to Astwood Bank. Then out into the countryside. We kept this going all the way out with only one brief stop. The group stayed together and worked well. Apart from Ian who was feeling the pace a bit on the hills and decided to stay at the back an conserve his energy. A wise choice. Especially with Mick “Bobbi” Wright keen to go to the front and drive as often as possible. Armed with a mobile phone as well, the resemblance was striking, except that he actually managed to keep the group together. Baywatch peeled off early as he had to work.

We meandered down to Honeybourne before starting a through and off session back to Bidford. A distance of 7 miles. This worked very well again. Quite surprising as this is a training method that has a tendency to rip things up. Again Ian decided to back off and just hang on. Goldie did well on the fixed to stay the pace, as things quickened just a bit. Then as the road dropped down to Bidford our Chairman and leader decided he was going to wind it up for the sprint, doing a long and hard turn on the front. After I came off his wheel, did my turn and dropped off, there was only 4 of us left, we rounded the corner and it was the bridge at Bidford, but no-one bothered to sprint as the sign is only 20 yards before some traffic lights. Dave was most disappointed after his lead out work.

After the bridge we re-grouped and started the more leisurely run back home. Things were fairly quiet apart from Rob’s one attempt to race a lorry. One thing was noted though, there did seem to be the same 4 people at the front all the time. DAS as our leader, Nick S as he said he was going badly and that was the best way to deal with it, Mick Wright as he is obviously going very well at the moment and we expect an elevation up to the A run soon. The fourth was actually me, much to mine and Dave’s surprise. I think I did longer on the front this week than I did all of last year. It felt good actually.

Once we got back to Studley people started heading home. Dave and Ian heading off to Redditch and Nick Walford to Bromsgrove. That left six to complete the ride, four of which were suffering big time. It was decided to avoid Gorcott and head up the road race course (?). The road round Redditch that leads to Icknield street was hell though. The slight breeze was blowing in out faces and the road was dead. With several pairs of tired legs, we struggled along. Then came the hills to finish it. Then things broke apart as well all struggled. Tom and Mick dragged us sufferers to the top and then we grouped back up and rolled back to Becketts as a very tired, but happy group. I really look forward to next week now, I hope it can be a little warmer.

Now a report on the A run from Todger

Seven left together and seven finished together! Bobbi, Wilksey, Cannibal Haynes, Andy Heaney, Toddy, Beans and Dave Sinar from the Warwicks. The pace was somewhat brisk as we went down the dual carriageway to Bransons, along to Hockley Heath then down the old road into Warwick. Out on the Banbury road before turning right to Wellesbourne. Up to this point I had done one long turn on the front then couldn’t get anywhere near the front again as we thundered along between 22 and 24 mph.

My legs were really struggling with the increased pace especially when the road went uphill. There was a minor confusion at the roundabouts in Wellesbourne and I had time to grab a bite of apple – absolute luxury. As we zoomed past the airfield I had tempting recollections of tea and cakes at the cafe, then Bobbi put in a long fast turn into Stratford. Sensibility took over as we hit Stratford and the call was to cut through the town and back through Billesley and Cantlow (hurrah – no Graftons).

On the far side of Stratford we stopped for a comfort break and upon resuming the pace eased and life became bearable again. To the Huff Cap and Beans was visibly wilting on the inclines. Dave S punctured and, despite his protestations to be left, we stayed with him to ensure equal suffering. Up towards Studley and Beans put in a Kamizake effort to get to the front on the climb, just to drift back as quickly.

Wilkes (the Duracell bunny) rode tempo through Studley to Gorcott. Beans legs gave up totally at the bottom and I lost the elastic about halfway up. And joy of joys – the Famous Five were waiting at the top and the run in was most pleasant. Knackered, weary but I’ll be back next week. It MUST do me some good eventually! Back to Becketts for ten past twelve and everyone admitted it had been a hard ride (I then felt much, much better). Shame about Linda and his broken thumb – he would have enjoyed today’s ride. Toddy