Normally you’re the only one floating through a sleepy Northwich on a Sunday morning. The chime of the church bell your only companion as the odd person trundles home from a heavy night out before but as we rocked up to the Grand Depart at the British Legion we were joined by a car park full of car booters. Much has been said about Al’s club run organisation but going to these sort of lengths at the Grand Depart is unpresidented.
Despite the threat of showers during the day, a sunny morning saw a good turnout with at least 15 riders heading out on both the long and short rides. Kris Zentek had put together a challenging route with more climbing than the Tour de France to Garth. The short run was joined by two new riders Mark and Phil and the return of Graham Gregory which put a smile on a lot of faces having had the all clear to get back out on his bike.
The short run wound it’s way through Whitegate and into Little Budworth containing Elaine, Matt, Neil, Geoff, Terry, Dave “El Presidente” Daynes and Ewart who has spent 3 months off the bike. Spanish Jed also returned from Spain, fresh from training in the mountains and will be with us for around 12 weeks before going back to top up his tan.
At Little Budworth, Al took Mark and Phil with Terry and Dave direct off to the Ice Cream Farm while I took the others on a longer loop, including a reece of Chapel Lane in preparation for next week’s King Of The Mountain competition.
If you had told me that Graham Gregory hadn’t touched his bike since Llanberis and today was his first club run since his heart operation I would have thought you were taking the michael. Following the early attack and then leading out, pushing the tempo all the way up the hill. It was great to see.
A good tempo was set all the way to the cafe where Wood picked up the sprint for the cafe, seeking inspiration from Vinokourov Wood attacked a long way off from the turn keeping Spanish Jed at bay. Dave Fearon caught us at the cafe and headed off on his training run.
Torrential rain followed us all the way home. Shoes were filled with water, faces splattered with mud and water sprayed everywhere. It didn’t deter a KOM competition up Whitegate to finish off the day. Matt attacked early on before being dragged back by Graham Gregory. An attack by Spanish Jed followed, matched by Wood. The two head to head all the way up the final climb. Jed, with Spanish mountain miles in the legs, had a little dig as they group approached the bridge, Wood countered, taking one look behind he kicked hard to take the win at the bridge. Jed and Graham just on his wheel. Terry and Dave suggesting later that they were in control and were waiting for it to be wound up!!
Another fun day out on the bike, getting back just in time to see 2008 Cheshire Classic winner Lizzie Armitstead take Silver. Don’t forget it’s the Blind Dogs Charity Ride next week.