Whilst most of the previous entries on this blog have been about equipment, I do actually cycle as well. I started by just riding by myself but was persuaded to join the Derby Branch of the Cycling Touring Club ( CTC ) and am now a regular on the Thursday rides. The majority of us are Old Age Pensioners but occasionally we are joined by a younger set who have taken a day off work or who are on school holidays. What follows is an account of one of our recent rides.
It is 09-25 at the Market Place with the rain pelting down, and forecast to get worse, and I am all alone.
Where are all the intrepid hardy veterans who make up the Thursday Squad?
A few phone calls later and the truth is laid bare.
.”too wet “, “too cold “, “ too blowy”, “ too tired “.
What shall I do?
And then, out of the darkness two young women arrive, Emma and Tracey; both decked out in Derby Mercury Racing Club kit and looking extremely lithe and fit putting my pooh bear shape to shame.
And so, for the first time in recorded history, the Thursday Ride gets under way with more women than men in the peleton. We wind our way through the city traffic and out to Markeaton and then up towards Mickleover and Radbourne, Tracey hammering out a punishing tempo at the front. The next psychological blow comes when Emma tells me about her latest training and racing day on the boards at Manchester Velodrome, my legs instantly feel weaker. Perhaps I need to alter the route to put a few steep hills in on the basis that sprinters are not good on climbs, but then neither am I, so I stick to the planned route as we move through Sutton and on towards Mount Pleasant. A tea stop is obviously needed so we head to the Salt Box at Hatton, the long straight flat road giving the girls an opportunity to open up the throttle as I try and cling to the back wheel. Refuelling over we set out again through Scropton. To have any hope of surviving this day I need to find a way of restraining these athletic girls and so I plot a route through the back lanes and head to Sudbury prison :-) The Secret Diner provides us with an excellent lunch and a time for my legs and lungs to recover. After lunch we head towards Foston where I point out a property well noted for its Alsation guard dogs which have the freedom of the fenced grounds. On cue, the dogs hurtle towards the fence barking loudly, and it is only then that we notice that someone has left the gate open! The girls went into turbo sprint mode and my heart rate monitor soared to a new record for maximum count. Excitement over we eased off the throttle and wound our way through Church Broughton, Longford and back to Radbourne and then onto Derby.
Total distance 65km
Speed, very fast in veteran units
And thanks to the girls for excellent company.