Again we had a good turnout for this ride. Most of the people from last week, but a few additions as well. The starters were, myself, DAS, Nick S, Rob, Nick Wolford, Ozzie, Nick Hands, Binman, China, Goldie, Tom Kirk made it out of bed and was there on time. He also supplied a couple of extras, the names of who I do not know, but it goes to say they were an awful lot younger than the rest of us and looked an awful lot fitter.
After the A run had gone well away we set off down the lanes on a rather lumpy route to Ullenhall. On our way down we passed the A run at a junction, we were rather surprised to say the least, as they had said that they were on their way to Alcester down the A435. Well they did not stay behind for long. Bobbi obviously took offence to us being ahead and lead the A run storming past. We continued our way down to Welford rotating through as a group. The sprints got a bit lively with everyone under 30 getting involved, and Nick Selibas, who actually took the first one.
After Welford we turned to Stratford and then to Wellsbourne. On the run past Wellsbourne we did our first through and off session. Nothing too major, but there was one drag on the road that caused a casualty. After a quick re-group there was some route planning done “on the fly” as were heading in slightly the wrong direction from the planned route. Myself and Dave were pulling the group along on a hilly road that eventually brought us out somewhere near Warwick. We then had to negotiate a footbridge, I am sure we were road cyclists, before going up through Warwick. After Hatton we had a brief stop for some relief and then another through and off session up to Knowle. Unfortunately at the start of the through and off session Ian and Nick H had been off the back of the group. I suggested to Rob that he paces them back up. Just after I sent him back it was decided to leave them and re-group at Knowle. That was the last we saw of Rob until Knowle. Sorry mate.
That through and off session also managed to drop Ozzie, at which I was very surprised. As we were missing the pair that were already suffering, the group was a really good one and stayed together well. I was really enjoying the ride so far. I had pushed hard on all the hills and actually led over a few, to then look round and see only Nick Wolford, Rob and the kids on my wheel. Feels good after all the pain this lot usually inflict on me on the flat. Despite these efforts I was very comfortable even in the through and off sessions.
After that through and off we began the run home, just rolling it in. Ian was suffering a lot and we nursed him home. Nick Hands took a quick route home when he spotted one as he had been feeling it too. The kids and Ozzie also departed at an early turn, not willing to stay with the group as we had, very kindly offered to take Ian and Dave to Bransons to get them as close to home as possible. Dave even admitted to me that he had been feeling the pace today, but said that he was now feeling a bit better for fear of being misquoted.
We dropped Dave and Ian off at the A435 and as they headed back to Redditch that left 5 of us to go back to Becketts. Nick Wolford, Rob, China, Nick S and myself. Nick Wolford decided through and off back to Becketts, but as he put it in the big ring and started to churn along, it became clear that none of us were going to come through. Nick seems well recovered from the flu and did not appear to have felt the last 60 miles. As the pace stayed high we dropped off the back. The highlight of my season so far is to say that I was the last one there. Before Nick disappeared off into the distance on the run up to the Motorway island I dropped off. I looked back to see the others about 100m behind. I then buried myself to see if I could stay away from that group of 3, but Nick still kept going away in front.
I am very happy with that ride and Dave reported it a good one from the point of view of the group training strategy. I am now very disapointed that I cannot make next week, but I shall be back in Feb. Good luck to you all.