Tuesday Night Ride

Posted: March 23, 2011 in 2011, Rides

A curate’s egg of a ride. Distance was fine, speed was fine (to start with) and that was about it.

The ride had been flagged as hilly and a bit slower than the last evening effort. Distance is fairly standard, about 32 miles or just over 2 hours of riding. There was a fairly large group at the start, a real mixture of speeds but to the best of my knowledge everyone was fully prepared for the type and duration of riding that I had in mind. I should have known things were going to go badly when one of the riders said he hadn’t charged his lights because he’d only decided to ride at the last minute. Rhetorical question here but how can you commit to going for a 2 our plus night ride when you don’t have an adequate charge in your lights? Nevertheless, we all set off at a gentle pace and onto the first climb which took us to a ‘cheeky trail’. It doesn’t look it, but it is uphill all the way and was therefore not quite as easy as it looks. This was followed by a bridleway section and a climb. I knew this was going to be tough as I rode it last week on my crosser – tonight all but two were on full sussers so it should have been ok. As this was a training ride, I purposely chose testing terrain and it did test us. The climb out of the way we embarked on some long road sections. It was here I noticed my front brake rubbing which slowed me down and drove me slowly mad!

Climbs were frequent-ish, short and often steep but were almost all followed by long downhills. It was not long after the first long road section that splits began to appear. There’s no point going into the long and short of it but gaps appeared on the hills and the following group got upset at being dropped while the leading group wanted to ride at their own pace, waiting at the top for slower riders to catch up. Cue much shouting from the stragglers. Indecision on my part (do I hang back or do I ride the hill at my own pace?) saw me in the middle, concerned that the stragglers didn’t get too grumpy on the one hand, and itching to ride the hill and chase Rich and Mike down on the other. I hung back but wished I hadn’t. A long downhill was followed by a series of roads which I described to Pete as not being real climbs but were simply roads that went up! More gaps, and by now we had seen the back of Mike as he continued his marathon ride of the night, riding home to Hesset. A stop to let people catch breath and we pushed on along easy roads to a long section of winding bridleway exiting at the Fornham Woolpack. By now the pace had dropped considerably and Rich left to go home and get warm. Pete and I pedalled on slowly, stopping periodically to check that the others were still coming. A climb up Mere Lane at maybe 5mph saw us putting even more yards into the last two stragglers. We kept on stopping to make sure they were still with us and heading in the right direction (they did have gps anyway) and then the long roll into Risby followed. By this time I was shivering as i had co0led down so much; Pete said he’d see the others home so I left.

Well apparently maybe only two people enjoyed the ride (Rich P and Pete). It was too fast, too far, possibly too hard and too fast. What can I say? It did everything it said on the tin. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter as I am not putting any more of these rides on, it really isn’t worth the effort. I have told the Timber chairman that these rides have been cancelled with immediate effect as have the informal racing/training sessions I run in the summer. (This isn’t me being petulant – there are other considerations that have helped me make the decision.)

Tune of the ride (purely coincidence btw)

removed cos on reflection it might have given the wrong impression!

Distance: 32 miles

Average HR 130

Max HR 170

Average speed 13.6 mph

  1. Ross Burton says:

    Interesting, from my very limited experience at the TTEs last year there wasn’t *that* much of a difference in rider times. Sure, I was always outclassed but maybe it was the combination of lots of singletrack and laps rather than a loop that ensured it didn’t seem to be too much of a problem.

  2. slowjo61 says:

    Different kettle of fish here Ross. We normally do the round Bury ride (32 miles or so) at an average of 14s or 16s. The FR7 stuff is always slower. While last nights pace was on the slow side, it was hilly and patently too much for some. 😦

    • Ash says:

      “last two stragglers” nice….

      one of those two ‘crashed out’ while the other rode with them to get them home. I enjoyed the exercise and the hills just a shame about the atmosphere of the ride.

      Don’t get me wrong I loved the training sessions last year and thank you for all your hard work. Tuesday night’s ride seemed to have a completely different vibe to it :/

  3. slowjo61 says:

    On reflection, maybe it was a bad idea to begin with. There are always two sides to every story and we’d best put this one down to experience. All water under the bridge anyway.

    My term ‘straggler’ wasn’t intended as a pejorative comment btw, just a statement of fact….

  4. slowjo61 says:

    Anyone from tri anglia reading this following Tina’s post will get the wrong idea if you think this was normal. This is the first ride to have ‘gone wrong’. On reflection the group was too big even though there were only 7 of us. One rider was significantly off the pace and apparently under prepared for the ride and there was too big an experience differential.

    Experience has shown that for this type of ride you really need no more than 5, everyone needs to know basic protocols and riders turning up need to be aware of what they were letting themselves in for. The aims and pace of the ride were well advertised in advance, sadly it went wrong. Lessons were learnt by all of us.

    I am well experienced iin leading rides on and off road and this one is the first to have failed. The solution as I said is to keep groups small and ensure riders of the same standard keep in separate groups. This was a ‘fast’ ride, not all the riders were up for the pace and things went wrong.

    No one was to blame but it won’t happen again. I will not be involved in groups of more than 5.

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