Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Coffee, cakes and good friends, what more does a cyclist need?

I decided to join in the last fast fun ride of the season, an un-official race "The Prologue Café bash 2". It's the last real blast on the race bike before winter really kicks in. As Andy North and I arrived at the Café there was a buzz of riders, Drinking coffee and chatting preparing for what was to come a tough day in the saddle. There was a great turn out with lots of riders from Albarosa/ Harrogate Nova and a couple of pro's for good measure. Unofficially this wasn't a race! It was a ride out from the Café with friends who can ride fast. A 45mile jaunt in to the country and back again. Doing a loop high above Harrogate up to summer bridge then on to Ripon and back. The course was lumpy, but not totally as flat as most people where suggesting. There's not many rides in Yorkshire where you don't have to climb a hill or two.

9am was fast approaching, we all grabbed our bikes and prepared Garmin's and final touches to our bikes and waited to hear the rules of the ride. It was going to start steady and roll out towards penny pot lane, straight after the round about the ride would really start. The peloton of 60-70 riders made it two or 3 miles, before it split in to three massive pelotons just crossing one of the main roads that leads back in to Harrogate.
 Both Myself, Matt Clements were in the 3rd group and had to push extremely hard to bridge gap back to the lead group who by this point where well up the road. This Took us 3 or 4miles at maximum effort all the way to into summer bridge to get across. By this point I was very deep in to the red, with a steep short climb this made it difficult for me to get across, other riders also trying to hang on to the front group but starting to feel the strain of the pace. Matt made it across with a last surge of effort just before the road levelled, I wasn’t so lucky I was 5 bike lengths off with the peloton pressing on. Myself and another rider worked hard for what felt like miles trying to bridge the gap. The road was fast but lumpy with every rise being felt in my legs as a burning sensation. One final effort I got back on for 10secs and just as the road started to rise again, I had gone too hard, I was deep in to the red and totally blew up. It's disappointing to say the least after putting so much effort in to getting back on. But Deep down in my mind I patted myself on my own back and was proud that I had even managed to make it back on even if it was for only seconds. With that kind of effort especially at this time of year I knew that at some point I was going pay for it.. it was November.

I Road solo until parts of the second group caught me. I Managed to recover slightly and ride the back end of the course with some top lads. It was hard graft, at times my legs screaming for me to chill out and ride steady. My body was still in shock, I knew I had nothing to prove, but at the same time I didn't want to give up. I knew there were still plenty of riders behind me. The wind was strong and without other riders around me I would have found it harder. We worked together as a unit and we all had a common goal and that was protecting each other from the head/crosswind. I managed to get to the edge of Harrogate just before Scott Thwaites caught me with another pro. It gave me strength to push on and as the second group finally split and splintered. I Went with them for as long as I could but with traffic and lumpy road's my legs started to fail as we approached Harrogate. Everyone was now suffering, I ended up riding the final few miles solo in to the finish.

I arrived back to the café with a wave of smiles all round. No matter how fast or slow you had ridden every rider had pushed them self's to the max at some point. The smell of coffee made it all worthwhile. Everyone could be proud of how they had ridden and the achievements of making it back in one piece to tell the story. Matt Clements was on form for All Terrain Cycles www.allterraincycles.co.uk and finished in second place on the Strava segment leader board. All in all I was happy to have survived the last real blast of the season. Top ride, Top riders, nice Café, Roll on the 2015 edition.