I’d been wondering what our esteemed runs leader had in mind when he said he’d come up with a way to make runs “safe and comfortable” – maybe new saddles, or accompaniment from the National Escort Group? Well the suggestion was much simpler than that – the leader stays at the front and sets the sort of consistent pace which everyone is happy with, and at which a good rhythm can be maintained and keeps everyone together. (Alan rightly reminded us these are club runs NOT training rides, which happen on a Saturday) – and someone else volunteers to be a back marker and keep an eye on the back of the group – and if no-one volunteers, the leader leads from the back, ensuring that those getting lost will be those choosing to push the pace at the front rather than those getting dropped at the back.
Anyway this worked excellently for our group, with Kev at the front and John Conboy (mostly!) at the back. We stayed together with no sudden surges, resulting from 1. people not attempting to put in efforts off the front and 2. if they did, our leader stayed resolute in not allowing this to disturb the rhythm of the group. Hoorah!
We all enjoyed a briskish ride in beautiful Autumn sunshine out to the hills, arriving at Blaze Farm via Gawsworth and Macc Forest. The hill at Macc Forest (is it 25%+? The Majorcans or French would have built some zig zags to take the sting out of the gradient) is a killer and some of us (I’ll not name anyone to preserve reputations) ended up briefly on a club walk not a club run. At some stage on this hill Kev saw backmarker John Conboy on his shoulder and briefly thought the back of the group was climbing remarkably well, until he realised that John had briefly abdicated his responsibilities – John said that if he’d gone as slowly as those of us at the back he’d have fallen off his bike, which is problaby true as we were indeed off our bikes!
Lunch was good and we met Kris Zentek looking tired and hungry as we were about to leave – he had already done 323 miles and 10,598 metres of climbing at an average speed of 34 mph on his own into the wind, and he pleaded with us to wait for him so he could ride home with us. So having restored his calorie deficit with one lump of sugar, he set off home with us. We rode over the Dumbars in fine style (was it my imagination or did I hear the dulcet tones of Steve Thomas calling out when we sped past his house?) and Kev and Kris set a nice pace home.
Out today were two sets of fathers and sons – Chris and Matt, and Paul and Connor – plus mostly-backmarker John C, Carol (ask her about flabby glutes next time you see her), Tony, Andrew Risk, Ewart, Chris Gregory, and Kev and me. Oh and Jules was with us till Gawsworth. Thanks everyone for your company, that was a great day out on the bike.