Saturday, 21 September 2013

The Five Bells of Stanbridge charity cycle ride

Just a big thanks to all those that organised, helped on and rode the event. I hope every mum dad and kid had fun, I know I did. Moments like racing along with the little kid in his wonky crash helmet and fury parka where magic, the look on his little face after 'dropping' his mum and dad was a look to match the famous 'The look'
As this was just for fun I went out on my mountainbike, I couldn't be arsed to make any concessions to the fact I'd be on the road, so the massive knobly tyres stayed on. As did the cow bell. On the cycle to the start I soon realised two things, massive squirmy knoblies running 35psi don't roll on tarmac and a big old 29er isn't aero no matter how hard you try, think shed with handlebars. That said it was comfortable and quick if you just kept ticking over.
So out on the road and into the headwind, oh dear! And out of the headwind, ah that's better. I'm riding along with the core of the LBRCC guys and girls, happy to chat and just ride this thing. Sadly not far into our ride we're passed by a group of club riders, and I bite. They slow on a gradual gentle climb and I pass them. Then I hear the familiar click click click and they pass again, I sit ain't gonna drop me. Soon roadie and MTB'er differences are put aside and we ride chatting together. Then comes the first little hill, the Aston Hill climb, I drop the slowest of the group I'm with, their club mates have to wait, I pass and don't see them again.
Then I'm overtaken just after the top by a very well equipped group, but they slow so I pass. These guys seemed properly miffed by a guy passing them on a mountainbike. They pass again, and again they slow. I select my big ring and lift the pace and tow them. I'll be very very honest, I'm showing off. They think I'm just a guy that doesn't have a road bike, but I've trained hard all year, I've raced and raced and I'm fresh off a week in the Pyrenees. Eventually they split up, the strongest starts to talk to me, that's when I tell him I don't usually ride a mountainbike in this sort of thing, it's just a one off. We ride into Tring and the rain. They slow in the wet so I press on leaving them behind.
From then on I hardly see a soul.
As I approach the last hill, Bison Hill I see Rob from the LBRCC he has already climbed it, descended it and  on his way to the finish. I'm with a gaggle of riders on the climb, I sit in and pootle, unlike me they can haul their bikes up. Everyone is within touching distance until the descent towards Dunstable, they plummet out of sight whilst I have to pedal this monster just to get down the hill. I have a quick WTF moment as I pass Fiona of the LBRCC on the summit, turns out she took a wrong'un and got ahead. Off the hill it's plain and very very fast sailing to the finish. I'm in a fast and tight bunch of various clubmen, I pass a few of the LBRCC fast guys that left me near the start, and roll into the finish. Robs at the finish, but I've passed the other LBRCC race guys and my ego has gone through the roof. Fact of the mater is that the mountainbike though being as heavy as a very heavy thing and as aerodynamic as a shed, has thirty gears all of which simply canceled out the hills and left me fresh as a daisy, with the exception of the sorest butt I've ever had, and that's coming from someone with eleven 24 hour solo's under his belt.
Congratulations to everyone taking the distance on for the first time, it was a tough course, and to all those mums, dads and kids mixing it with the uber serious Stravanistas. And more importantly I hope a great deal of money was raised for such a good cause.
Next year... 48lb 3 speed 1958 town bike?

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