Dave Smith, Nick Selibas, Richard Todd, Martin Osman, Tim Kronsjo, Tom Kirk, Andy Heany, Martyn Bennett, Alistair Mchesney.
In a sharp contrast to the previous Sunday, which was calm, cold and bright; today’s training ride was greeted with a mixture of damp, dull and howling wind. The rides were split into two with a small A group of Mark Wilkes, Bob Gunning, Chris Duffield and another rider called Shay (Eds note: according to Chris Duffield, Mark, out on his light bike for the first time this year, gave them all a good kicking). After having his body pounded with the A ride for the past month, Richard was wisely taking it easy before the Majorca training camp, while Alistair was just getting himself back to form after breaking his thumb.
Due to the strength of the wind the decision was taken to keep to the back roads down to Evesham and then use the bypass for through and off with the wind behind us. All well and good, but back roads bring their own pitfalls or potholes as China found out after hitting one a trifle too hard. After the puncture stop we set off down the Ridgeway and a steady through and off session was brought into effect. This worked quite well although the speed was hampered from the nagging wind. Turning right a the bottom of the Ridgeway and we were straight into the teeth of the gale. It was a effort to keep going and the only practicable method was for a single line of riders, with each rider peeling off from the front down the outside and then getting back at the end of the string while he got his breath back! For what seemed like an age we battled back along until reaching the traffic island which marked the return point back to base.
What a difference! With the wind behind us it felt like everybody was equipped with a jet engine. The speed was so fast that many riders simply ran out of gears. Pity poor Andy Heany and his mate (whose name I can’t remember) as they had decided to come out on mountain bikes. The through and off session rapidly broke up when Alistair decided to disregard the off bit and crank up the speed to about 40mph. A split soon formed with Alistair leading, Richard and Ossie next, desperately trying not to let the elastic snap, and myself and Tom Kirk sheltering in their slipstream. While traveling in hyperspace, who should we pass, none other that Ian Keith, alias the bin man, out on a secret training session. Sorry mate we weren’t ignoring you, its just difficult to hold a conversation at that rate of closing speed. At the little chef island we turned right and allowed the rest of the group to reform before setting off again.
The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful, apart from China turning off with Dave, too much burning the candle at both ends. The remainder of us stayed together until hitting the base of Ullenhall, where as usual the action gets rather heated. Martin Osman started to open a gap on the climb and as no-one countered the move I decided to close the gap myself. Over the crest we had been joined by Andy Heaney and Tom Kirk so the four of us set off back to Becketts as a working group.
The situation was working quite well until Tom Kirk got fed up and attacked just before the flyover. Andy Heaney at this point gave up the forlorn chase on the mountain bike and waited for his mate which left myself and Martin Osman chasing Tom. After one desperate turn on the front my legs faltered and Ossie sensing blood sprinted past. Suddenly out of nowhere a yellow blur whistled past me, or was that Alistair and the two of them closed down Tom and then disappeared off into the distance. I used the remaining 3 miles as timetrialling practice, not wishing to be caught by anyone else and rolled back to Becketts car park rather relieved that by next week most of us would be enjoying (hopefully) summer climbs in Majorca.
Beans -Alias Martyn