On Friday 7 enthusiastic cyclists met at the Lightning club for a ride out to get a bit of practice for the Coningsby bike ride. After 30 miles of cycling around the Fylde in glorious sunshine we were back where we started, but I still had to cycle home!

Latest Postings:

We made it - part one (11 Oct 2011)
Bala Bike Ride (25 Aug 2011)
Second Training ride (15 Aug 2011)
First training ride (08 Aug 2011)
Cycling 175 miles Warton to Coningsby (07 Aug 2011)

First training ride

It was with a little trepidation that I rolled up at the Lightning Club at Warton at 4pm last Friday. There I was meeting up with people who until that point had just been names on a distribution list.  This was  first training ride out organised for those intrepid souls on the Coningsby charity bike ride and despite all the miles I've clocked up on a bike this was the first group ride I'd been on. That's right the thousands and thousands of miles I've clocked up on a bike have all been solo, so this was new experience for me and with people I'd never met before, hence the trepidation.

They say first impressions count so I don't think my appearance would have instilled confidence in the others. I found a group of people getting bikes off cars and soon ascertained that they were on the training ride, so a quick introduction was made. Now these guys were all on full spec road bikes, cycling kit and jerseys, one even had aero bars on his bike. Me, I'm on my mid-range Chris Boardman Hybrid bike, pannier on the back rack as I had cycled to work that day. I have cycling shorts but also wear a pair of casual shorts as I use the pockets for phone and cards etc. finally rather than a cycling jersey I just have a work's polo shirt, all slightly incongruous for the occasion. So I was a little nervous that I'd struggle to match the pace of the group which by the time we set off had swelled to a grand total of seven riders, summer holidays undoubtably contributing to a few absences. 

The ride started fine as the route chosen was the very route I use commuting to and from work so I knew it well. We worked our way up towards Kirkham, then out to Treales. I know it's a lot easier following than leading but just after Treales I seemed to have worked my way to the front and a couple of us led the group over to Bartle Hall at a nice comfortable pace. Just after Bartle Hall a couple of left turns saw us heading through Woodplumpton. This was then the run across the Fylde which saw us roll through Inskip, Elswick and over to Singleton. We then dropped down South towards Weeton, it was at this point one of the group decided to up the pace a bit and a gap opened up between two groups, those of us at the back just kept plugging away and by the time we got to Plumpton were were back as one group.

Due to a recent birthday I treated myself to a new toy, a Garmin Edge 500, a GPS enabled trip computer and heart monitor. I might post a review of the device later as some of the details seem to be hard to find on the web. However it does give me the opportunity to download and publish the ride online. So the full gory details of the route is shown below. Click on more details for the full breakdown of the ride. 

 

As we headed towards Lytham once again a group of three seemed to sense the homeward stretch and started to pull away, at times going through Lytham they were that far in front that it was diffucult to know which way thay had gone. I think the plan was to head over through Wrea Green but those infront were obviously keen to get home and dropped onto the main Lytham - Warton drag. I was still in the rear group and as we came out of Lytham past Stanways I could just make out the leading group in the distance. My legs still felt good so I thought I'd see what I could do, was there a chance I could match the pace of the leading group? So I knocked it down a couple of gears and put my head down. I could see that I was making decent ground on them but getting to Warton I was near my limit and was flagging. However as I approached Townsend Garage I got a break as the lights at the main gate were red. This held the group up just enough for me to get closer and the impetus to keep the pressure on, the lights turned green and by the time they got moving again I was on their wheel. I was well chuffed I'd done it!

We rolled into the Lighting Club carpark after 1hr 45mins and 30 miles, so an average of just over 17mph. Whilst most of the riders started to load their bikes onto their cars I had an 11 mile ride home to complete. So on the ride details above ignore the last 11 miles as that was my commute home.

When I got home I uploaded the trip data onto the computer to have a look at where we'd been, although I recognised most of the roads there were a few new ones to me. I then looked at the splits which is when I realised that I had acquited myself quite well. After 25miles of cycling, for the last 5 miles from Lytham to Warton (split 6) when I was chasing the leading group down I'd managed, with a slight tailwind,  to sustain an average speed of 20.3 mph over the last 5 miles.

I just hope I can maintain the pace next week but I don't think I did too bad for an overweight desk jockey on a hybrid!