The Invisible Hill, Michael Jackson And A Plug Hole

COTTINGHAM ROAD CLUB RIDE TO HOWDEN – 21/02/2016

The CRC club ride on Sunday 21st February was going to be a largely flat 54 mile ride from Cottingham to Howden in the East Riding and back.

Largely flat apart from 2 hills topping and tailing the ride. At the top of the ride would be the well worn climb out of Cottingham, through Skidby and Little Weighton and finishing off at the top of The Clump descent into South Cave.

At the tail of the ride would be Brantingham Dale rising up from the village of the same name.

Just under 2 miles in total Brantingham Dale is made up of a steady climb through picturesque woods before a final stinger section that ramps up the gradient to around 10 % over 300 metres.

Beware those who are tempted to go too fast on the lower slopes as they will reap the whirlwind on the stinger.

 

Some would say there were in fact 3 hills on this ride.

A strong head wind gusting well over 30 mph would act as ” The Invisible Hill ” on the westward section of the ride.

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HE’S NOT THE ONE

On arrival at the meet point Adam was entertaining the group with his planned routine for his upcoming appearance on Lip Sync Battle.

You have got to admire his chutzpah for doing a full rendition of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean including moonwalking in front of a group of grizzled cyclists.

As you can see reactions range from from huge enjoyment through stunned incredulity to embarrassed looking the other way.

I must say I could have done without seeing the crotch grabbing but apart from that all good.

THE RIDE – WANNA BE STARTIN SOMETHING !


Adam took the slow group and headed off up the road singing ” She was more like a beauty queen from a movie scene…..”

That was going to get old very soon and I was glad I wasn’t in the slow group. Unfortunately Annette ( The Missus ) was in the slow group.

I feared she may kill him.

About 10 minutes later the fast group started off and within 100  metres we had our first mechanical.

John was obviously not happy with his bike as he was looking down at it repeatedly. Problems with his disc brakes stuck on. He pulled over and was assisted by Tony and Colin.

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C’MON JOHN JUST PEDAL HARDER IF YOUR BRAKES ARE STUCK ON !

We got going again making it through Skidby and Little Weighton before Samantha suffered a puncture.

This time the pit crew  consisted of Gary, Tony and Colin.  John still was not happy with his brakes and took the opportunity for more fiddling.

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BIKE REPAIRS

“It’s nice to know” I said to Nigel ” that if I had a puncture then I would get 3 guys rushing to help me ”

No reply from Nigel. Just a knowing look.

THRILLER DOWN THE CLUMP

After repairs were completed we cracked on against a stiff head wind towards the top of The Clump descent into South Cave. Carol had found herself at the front and deftly indicated that she no longer wished to be there

” Will somebody PLEASE get in front of me and get me out of this wind !! ”  ( Expletives deleted )

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CAROL LOVING IT IN THE WIND

And then came my least favourite descent down into South Cave. Well actually it is a bit of a misnomer to say my “least favourite” descent as I am not really mad keen on any descent at all.

At least this would be a good opportunity to get in front at the top and get some good pictures of them all coming past me.

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MARK TUCKING IN DOWN THE CLUMP

After South Cave it was on to North Cave before turning right just after Newport to go over the M62. Then as we turned left to head for Sandholme Samantha got another puncture.

WE CAN BEAT IT – MAYBE NOT

Actually this one was more of a tyre explosion and on closer inspection by the pit crew there was a split about an inch long in the tyre sidewall. Just replacing the inner tube was not an option.

“What we need” said chief mechanic Gary ” is some plastic or rubber we can put in the tyre to protect the inner tube”

Just as we were all about to start foraging like on an episode of Scrapheap Challenge, Mark had a rummage in his tool kit and piped up

” Like this ? ” and produced a 2 inch square piece of plastic backed adhesive rubber.

” That is just the job ! ” said Gary ” but its too big we need something to cut it down to size. If only we had a pen knife. ”

Mark had another rummage in his tool kit. “Like this ?” and produced not so much a pen knife but more of a Bowie knife.

“That is just the job ! ” said Gary ” Now if only I had a Black & Decker Workmate with which to do the repair on a nice steady,  raised surface ”

Mark had yet another rummage in his tool kit ….” Like this ? ”

OK , I made the last one up. But certainly Mark was well equipped for emergencies.

Gary cut the patch and Tony fitted it inside the tyre over the split.

Well done to all concerned.

However, after discussion it was deemed safer if Sam made her way slowly back rather than risk completing the bulk of the ride with such an ad hoc repair. So sadly Sam turned around and headed home and I am happy to report she made it back without further mishap.

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SAM JUST BEFORE HER DEPARTURE
THAT WIND IS …..BAD

The ride continued on westwards towards Howden through the villages of Sandholme and Eastrington. With the landscape being featureless and offering nothing by way of protection from the wind this was a tough section.

I had a few goes at the front to try and be helpful and take some of the wind. However my judging of the pace at the front continues to be suspect as June diplomatically asked me to slow down as I wasn’t taking the whole group with me.

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JUNE AND GARY INTO THE WIND

I was most impressed by this diplomacy, my feelings were not hurt.

In return I nearly brought her off as I slowed dramatically to take a right turn.  Hey I never said I was the hero of this story.

Shortly after my faux pas we were closing in on Howden and then time for a well earned coffee break at the Cheese Shop.

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ARRIVAL IN HOWDEN
DO YOU WANT YOUR COFFEE BLACK OR WHITE ?

After the stopover at the Cheese Shop we got back on the road to start the return journey.

We were going to take a twisting and turning route that would broadly track the River Ouse back in an eastwards direction towards Blacktoft and Faxfleet

As the wind was  now behind us we could make good speed plus have enough breath left to have a good old natter about life, the world and everything.

I got talking about a wide range  of topics

  • Gear ratios and hill climbing with Mark. ( Me talking about gear ratios !!)
  • Healthy eating and exercise with Carol.
  • The pros and cons of lying on applications for sportives about how fast you can go with June.
  • The childhood memories of Colin when he learned for the first time that life isn’t fair and women are right no matter what and you should just accept it.

The roads we were now travelling on were covered in muddy puddles. Despite most people having mudguards we were starting to get well and truly splattered in muck.

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CAROL ALL CUT UP ABOUT SPLATTERING GARY

Some people took mischievous delight in getting their ride colleagues splattered.

Gary appears to be chewing on something that has been propelled at him by an utterly distraught Carol who is devastated it has happened.

THE BRANTINGHAM DALE BURN – CAN YOU FEEL IT ?

After the pleasure of scooting along the lowlands with a following wind we zeroed in on the ascent of Brantingham Dale.

I have been up this climb many times and I know as well as anybody that to go too hard on the lower slopes invites a messy and unpleasant blow up later on when the gradient ramps up.

However, I cannot seem to stop myself from self destructing every time. What is that all about ?

Sure enough as we went past the church on the right where the road starts to rise I was on the front going hard. Hard for me anyway.

As the road turned and twisted up through the woods I could feel my reserves of energy draining away down …er…my energy reserve plug hole. Time to back off ? No, let’s keep going.

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TONY GOING PAST

As the steep bit approached my energy was now swirling in a clockwise direction around my energy reserve plug hole and making glugging noises.

I started to sound  like a steam train chuffing away otherwise known as ” blowing out my arse ” …..always a sign that I am in deep trouble.

Going up the steep section the vultures were starting to mass behind me now. At the top of the food chain was Tony. I don’t think Tony even has an energy reserve plug hole. He passed me effortlessly and silently and in a few pedal strokes he was pulling away and gone.

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COLIN SNATCHING SILVER

Next came Colin who at least had the decency to sound a little bit in pain as he overtook. Thanks mate I appreciate it.

I managed to maintain a podium place to the top and was more than happy with that.  Not that club rides get competitive at all……

A FAST RUN IN – DON’T STOP TILL YOU GET ENOUGH

We were now close to home with just a downhill section along Riplingham Road and then a left turn at Raywell to take us through Eppleworth and then finally back to Cottingham.

The run from Raywell to Cottingham was going to be particularly pleasurable as there was now a strong back wind along this section.

Isn’t it amazing how good a back wind makes you feel ? You feel like a cycling god, able to maintain a high speed with little effort.

You start to delude yourself as to  where you sit in the cycling Pantheon.

” Yeah, Chris Froome first then Alberto and then probably me after that I would think…..yeah definitely me next ! ”

So it proved on this section. We were up close to 30 mph for most of this section although it definitely wasn’t easy as I was killing myself.

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JOHN COMING THROUGH AT HUGE VELOCITY

Imagine my horror then when I was doing about 30 mph and John passed me like I was standing still. How fast could he go if his brakes weren’t stuck on ?!

” OK so it’s Chris Froome, Alberto, John and then definitely me after that, definitely me ”

And then Colin came past me as well.

” Bugger, OK it’s Chris Froome, Alberto, John, Colin and then definitely me after that, definitely me ! ”

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COLIN GOING FAST WITH A SMILE ON HIS FACE !

Luckily we got into Cottingham before I could slip any further down the order.

A GREAT RIDE – THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL

We all piled into The Olive Garden for more coffee to celebrate the end of a brilliant ride.

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TAKEN A BIT OF A SPLATTERING . GARY AND ME.

For me the best part of a ride is generally the end.

Unless there is a a freakish backwind the whole way round ( unlikely ) I am usually working hard all the way.

I am not one of these riders who can effortlessly travel large distances and go up climb after climb after climb. It hurts and I am glad when it’s over.

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GO AND HAVE A WASH CAROL !

I really enjoy the end of a good hard ride.  Feelings of satisfaction, pride and relief are mixed in with the anticipation of how much I can now eat and drink guilt free.

It’s nice to be in the company of your ride colleagues at this time who are also usually experiencing this end of ride euphoria.

Because of all our mechanical issues we had totally missed the slow group who had finished their ride and dispersed some time ago.

So I had to wait until I got home before I caught up with Annette and her ride.

” Hello  darling how were things in the  slow group today ? ”

” Oh the ride itself was fine but Adam was unbearable ! The whole Michael Jackson thing was doing my head in. I was within an inch of strangling him. So help me if I hear one more Michael Jackson reference ……… it was criminal !! ”

” Don’t you mean Smooth Criminal darling ?…..what’s the matter, come on love it was only a joke ….you’re frightening me now …get back …….leave me alone ……..Aaarghhhhh !!! ”


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