Our club secretary's cycling blog
Only 37 more sleeps to go now before ‘ lift off’ to the continent and the training continues a pace.
Last night's ride home from the stadium was a straight 25 miler and took in the delights of Pucklechurch followed by Chipping Sodbury and then would you believe Coalpit Heath - all I am sure you would agree delightful names.
Others of course then spring to mind such as Bourton-on-the-Water and Joys Green in Gloucestershire. Dorset boasts Piddletrenthide, Yorkshire has its own Wetwang, Herefordshire claims Wormelow Tump and of course London has Cockfosters!
But probably the best of all nestles among the rolling roads of Somerset and is recorded as Nempnett Thrubwell. I believe the Wurzels even wrote a song about the place. So cycling through these lovely villages must take on a far greater resonance - always assuming you have enough energy left to appreciate the views when you arrive!
All of which brings me back to last night when those same energy levels seemed to be at a all time low for some reason. Today's analysis has concluded that the hydration and feeding in the hour leading to sprinting off along Filton Avenue weren’t what they should have been - lesson learnt.
However, having said that, the need for little pauses in the action last evening did bring about some interesting conversations with other prospective ‘Le Tour’ riders en route.
Having pulled up at traffic lights in the aforementioned Chipping Sodbury and been joined by another hero on a bike I attempted to engage in lively informative conversation.
I opened with the gambit that here we were in a place originally founded by old William Crassus (or le Gros) in the 12th Century and nearby we have both Old Sodbury and Little Sodbury, and, difficult to believe but, close by we have a railway tunnel under the Cotswolds which was opened by the Great Western Railway in 1902.
Somewhat surprisingly he seemed unmoved by any of this and was clearly impatient for the lights to change and be on his way. Unperturbed and now in full flow I felt sure he would be deeply interested to know that Chipping Sodbury had a railway station right through from 1903 to 1961 when the infamous Mr. Beeching struck.
I noticed at this point that my fellow traveller had adopted a stare that was way off into the distance at the same time as being pre-occupied with a mark on the left arm of his jacket.
Taking this to mean his interest had not completely waned I asked if he would be attending the ‘Mop Fair’ being planned for the last weekend in September in the High Steet in addition to wondering whether he was a cricket fan and had therefore visited RC ‘Jack’ Russell’s ( former England Wicketkeeper) art gallery in the town.
I was just about to enter into a full on diatribe relating to the facts surrounding JK Rowling's birthplace being in the local maternity hospital when in a sequence reminding me of Usain Bolt leaving the starting line in the Olympics he was gone like a flash.
Nice chap I thought, although he didn’t say much for himself….
Anyway, I leave you today with an excellent, and I am told true story, relayed by a cycling correspondent of some note based around the whole vexed question of “Cleats”.
Seems he was passing through a Co.Down village when he was surprised to see the same rider fall over at three different junctions having failed to clip out of his pedals.
He mentioned this to a bike mechanic friend who told him about a customer who’d called at his shop for new shoes bringing with him a bike that had his old shoes still attached to the pedals.
It turned out he’d never worked out how to unclip reliably. Whenever he stopped, he found something to lean on, or fell over, took his shoes off and started again - “ unless I manage to find a couple of big lads who can just pick me up and put me back on my wheels” he added. “ That saves a bit of time”
I have said this before but there really are some great characters out there.
Onward….the weekend long one approaches...