Wind & rain are just words..

Today’s ride was a flat short 37 mile loop on the South Bank of the Humber.

On a sunny day it would be a simple meander around the countryside but on a day like today it felt as though we were part of some epic race in Belgium for we had it all – wind, rain, mud and mechanicals.

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Wind battered..

Photos by Alan..


We started off with 20 riders, 1 new starter and 3 women, not a bad turnout on a terrible weather forecast – strong gusting winds with heavy showers half way through the ride.

Our route took us over the bridge, through Barton, across to Immingham, then into a strong head wind before picking up the National Route 1 for a back-ish wind home.

It was the usual banter as we congregated at the Humber Bridge car park, with more than one double take by members of the public.  20 colourful and rowdy cyclists draws peoples attention.

We welcomed back Sam after an enforced winter off the bike – just 60 miles so far this year. Sam is known in the club as a hill climber and only just moved onto cleated shoes, he rode and beat most people up the hills in toe clips! It was nice to see him sporting the best Forest Gump beard I’ve ever seen 🙂
It came in handy later on as the wind & rain blasted down.

Our new rider for the day could be instantly found as they had the rabbit in the headlight look, as ever it was a good chat to try and ease their nerves.

“..this is not a racing club – our rules are clear, no one is left behind..”.

I’m sure James was very glad of this rule 5  miles down the road..

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Rabbit caught in headlights look..



Crossing the Humber Bridge in strong winds on a bike demands attention, lots of it.. The bridge is shaped specially to allow the wind to flow over it, the guardrails are kept small so as not to restrict the airflow, which means on a day like today the strong side winds can be challenging – and the towers – woahhh the wind around the towers can nearly take your wheel away.

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passing through Barton..

 

We kept the pace low for safety reasons and passed through Barton heading east on the A1077 – Barrow Road, this is not a particularly nice road as the cars race along it.

We got about 5 miles from the start point when new rider James shouted that he had a puncture. We usually ride with a strong rider at the front and one at the back just in case, my turn for the back (humblebrag!) – I just managed to shout that to someone to tell Ian about our predicament when they next stop and we’ll catch them up.

James & I then set about to change the inner tube ASAP – which always seems like ages when on the road. Charlie popped back to help pace us back and very soon we were on our way again, it was at this point that Charlie mentioned he’d shouted at one of our members who took a wrong turning but he think he wasn’t heard – we never saw Chris again!

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waiting..

 

Luckily the rest of the guys/gals had stopped in a sheltered spot not too far away and we were soon a big happy family again – dysfunctional but happy.

Charlie remarked quite rightly that he thought we were going for the record of number of train lines crossed – we did cross quite a few..

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Waiting..

I was quite interested in today’s route, I’d never visited Immingham before, I’d seen the refinery lit up at night from the North Bank but not up close, today we were set to cycle right past it.  We also cycled past the remains of Thornton Abbey – with what was left of it’s very impressive gatehouse.

Soon we were passing by the North & South Killingholme refineries on a road that during the week cyclists are not welcome (big heavy lorries every where I imagine..).

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Rutted roads..

 

We were all glad to leave that section behind and get back onto smaller roads again, by now the weather was starting to turn, it had been forecast heavy showers and near enough on time the rain started.  We quickly stopped to don ourselves in whatever garb we thought would keep out the rain for a little while and carried on.

Now some of us have mudguards, some don’t..
You soon learn to follow only those with mudguards or end up with a face full of mud and dirty water – we now looked like pro’s riding one of the classics!

As we approached Stallingborough we turned right and straight into the head wind, for some the battering we’d already taken was starting to show and gaps opened up in the ranks.

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Wind blasted..

 

Echelons formed and faces became grim in their look.
Like some clucking mother hen I tried to push people to get as close as possible to to the wheel in front – ride as close as you can – it’ll save you energy – but close group riding skills takes time to accumulate. We had around 5 miles of this wind before we could move into less painful side wind which we ploughed through for the next 40 minutes.  Every now and then when Ian recognised that the pack had split he would stop everyone in a sheltered spot and allow the poor sods at the back to catch up, a quick 2 min rest and of we started again.

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Re-grouping

It was with some relief for quite a few when we finally spotted the Route 1 sign, we were only 12 miles from the end and it was back wind from now on!

The stronger riders let rip and off they flew, while those who’s legs weren’t used to head winds just enjoyed the sensation of cycling and actually moving forward.

The group reformed at the at yellow cycle route sign near Burnham Park, a decision was then made to allow those that wanted to to go full pelt for home – and off they went.  A lot decided to just enjoy the last few miles at a more sedate speed.

Deepdale is deep
Deepdale is deep

Deepdale was the last of the hills both physical and emotionally for a lot of riders today, a quick blast down one side then attack up the other – how far can you get before you have to sit down and grind the rest out?

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Racing up the other side of Deepdale

A few of our members were sporting knee injuries and had done extremely well to get themselves around the course in the conditions, they were starting to hurt – cold compresses and hot baths were at the front of their thinking.

As we rolled into Barton we found a large number of the faster bunch waiting at the side of the road – puncture number two.
Question – how many cyclists does it take to change a wheel?
Just one – but the rest will give advice!

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How many cyclists does it take to change a wheel?

Puncture mended – pump broken and hands dirtied we were soon on our way making the crossing of the Humber Bridge with a strong back wind and finally back into the car park to complete another club ride.

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Happy to finish..

The club may not be a racing club – but it felt like a spring classic today.
Chapeau to all who ventured out.
🙂