Down to 6 stalwarts this week, but the weather was kind to us and we clocked up 40 enjoyable miles this week on a slightly meandering route.
Second Training ride
What happened to the Summer then? There was I hoping to get a few rides into work during the week to keep active but the weather was against me, I managed a short ride on Thursday but found quite a few flooded roads around the Fylde.
So Friday dawned, I got kitted out to cycle in to work for the evening training ride but by the time I was ready to set off, the rain had moved in. It was that fine drizzle that looked fairly innocuous, nothing heavy, but a continuos wall of water to guarantee a soaking within a couple of minutes. So after a quick change the bike and the cycling gear was chucked in the back of the car. Looking at the Met forcast at lunchtime showed a band of rain over the Fylde which was self evident staring at the black clouds out of the window. The evening didn't look too promising either as there was another band of rain over Ireland heading our way. However it started drying out just after 3 o'clock and I figured that when it came to the actual ride I'll have to do it what ever the weather so the decision was made, the ride was on.
Well six stalwarts turned up at the Lightning Club car park for the ride, no actually five turned up at 4pm but another was ensconsed in a meeting til 4pm. So we hung around for a few minutes and by 4:15pm we were 6 strong and the weather gods were smiling on us. The sun had come out, which I was thankful for as I'd forgotton to pack my waterproofs. Although I had upgraded from my works polo shirt to a pukka biking jersey. After the sucess of the Manx Missile (a.k.a. Mark Cavendish) it had to be a HTC shirt. Just after it dropped through the letterbox I find out the Team is folding due to lack of sponsorship. The favourite home for Cav seems to be Sky but Mark Renshaw has just signed for Rabobank, which seems to be the end of a perfect partnership. I wonder if Geraint Thomas can fill Renshaw's shoes?
Anyway back to the slightly more pedestrain pace of our training ride, we followed more or less the same route as last week, but Steve had planned a few extra detours to add another 10 miles to the route and build it up to 40 miles. As per last week we headed up towards Kirkham but then rather turn off to Treales a slightly more southerly route took us past Westinghouse (a.k.a. B.N.F.L) Springfields nuclear processing plant, given the name I always envisage Homer Simpson beavering away inside! We made our way over to Woodplumpton, just after which we took a right turn and followed some back roads up towards Myerscough College. This dropped us on a nice road past a microlight school and up to St. Michaels and towards Great Eccleston. Just before Great Eccleston it was a quick left and on towards Elswick and across to Singleton. Here we headed up past the Maize Maze towards Staining and to within a hair's breadth of a 6 bike pile up. We were ticking along nicely at a fair pace, 24mph recorded at one point. I was just getting a bit of sustinance with a museli bar when this flat bed truck went past us and then stopped dead in front of us. This was new territory for me and the railway bridge was single file only, for some bizarre reason although we were going uphill there was a give way across the road, those coming down the hill had right of way! So I jammed on both brakes and narrowly avoided skittling the rest of the team, fortunately I managed to hang on to my museli bar!
After Staining my saddle bag started to work loose, so just before Weeton as we climbed the hill to the railway bridge I made a quick stop to strap the bag on to my pannier rack. As we rolled down to Lytham just in front of me I saw Pete's bike started to wrap his rear derailleur around the rear cassette and I was getting ready for an emergency stop as I could see a wheel lockup in propect. The chain had obviously dropped off the front ring and full marks to him I don't know how he did it. A little deft footwork got the chain back on without stopping. Presumably Steve and Cal had cycled in to work in the morning because as we approached Lytham they peeled off right towards home. The remaining gang of 4 took the back roads through Bryning back to the Lightning club.
So we finished back at the Lightning club, 2 1/2 hrs and 40 miles later. The weather had been good, we were still dry! Slightly slower than last week (16.6 mph) but we clocked up an extra 10miles. It was a good run out and so thanks to Steve for an enjoyable route. As I'd packed the bike in the back of the car and started to leave the car park the rain started. Planned to perfection, a great ride with good weather and given what we'd endured over the last few days it was a good run. Although when I got home I was glad I didn't have a white bike to clean!
A special plea for all the other on the ride, please try to get along to the next ride out. I'm on holiday next week, as is Tim (maybe?) and I'd hate for the number to drop even further. The group will only go as fast as the slowest rider and I'd hate for the numbers to drop any further. It's good training and cameraderie will help for the actual ride in September. There might be a ride report but it'll be a solo effort from Bala, Wales.
Finally on a personal note I feel I have to mention my eldest son's effort in cycling. With Dad's resurgent interest in cycling he is set on going out on bike rides. He was really keen on getting a proper road bike but he is at the funny age where he is not quite big enough for a small adults road bike. Fortunately we found a Viking Sprint which is a junior road bike on 24" x 28c wheels, the Cycle Superstore in Bolton had it at a very good price, cheaper then Parkers! We picked that up Saturday and I would recommend the shop, they wouldn't release the bike unil it had been set up properly. As the saddle needed raising for him, they turned the head stem to suit him as well. The mechanic seemed knowledgable and so far the bike seems to be setup perfectly for him.
On Sunday we went on the Sky Ride around Blackpool, it was a great day out and can be throughly recommended. We did a couple of laps and then stopped at a Pizzeria for lunch. With the sun shining we sat outside enjoying a drink and a pizza, with the fountain nearby it felt very continental and we couldn't believe we were in Blackpool. So we clocked up the best part of 12 miles, so number 1 son was pleased as we have set him a challenge. He was looking at a very smart road bike which was a few hundred pounds more expensive than the Viking bike, so we have promised him that if he clocks up 500 miles on the Viking then we'll get him the better bike for his birthday.
Given that he's just clocked up 28 miles within 24hrs of getting the bike I think I ought to start saving for his birthday!