Today’s ride with North Cheshire Clarion was not the official Sunday club run but a slightly brisker and earlier ride. The aim was to do a 17mph-ish average meaning that we’d all have to work that little bit harder than normal club runs. The conditions, however, conspired to make that difficult, with a -3°C temperature and a freezing fog.
Five of us set off down the icy country roads taking it pretty gingerly whilst trying to establish a decent pace and rhythm. It was okay in a straight line as the wheels cut a line through the frost layer but at each turn we had to slow right down and take them very carefully. Riding through the fog resulted in us all being covered in a layer of frost on the leading edges of our bikes and bodies – arms, legs, frozen eyebrows!
25 or so miles in and the sun was rising and melting the top layer of frost. This seemed to make things worse. First Gaz came off going relatively slowly round a left hander. A quick stop to check bruises, bike and dust himself off and we carried on another couple of miles before taking a right-hander into a lane. This time I was behind Gaz and his wheels went from under him again in front of me causing me to instinctively tap the brakes – at which point my front wheel went from under me and I hit the road! Thankfully we were both okay and the cafe was just down the road so a hot cup of coffee and some cake helped. I’ve now got some nice road-rash and large associated bruise on my right hip, knee and elbow – Gaz will presumably have the same but on both sides.
No further incidents in the final 10 miles or so and we managed a decent pace overall. The average for each 10 miles was 16.8mph, 17.7mph, 17.5mph and 15.5mph respectively. It’s worth noting the 15.5mph included the offs and the cafe – so both clearly disrupted the rhythm we’d established.
Did the ride achieve my goals? Well the average was 16.8mph which given the conditions I am pretty happy with. Over the previous 5 Sunday club runs my average heart-rate has been 125bpm. My average today was 149bpm so it definitely made me work harder.
The size of group also made life a little bit easier in terms of going quickly – hopefully I’ll be doing more rides like this – weather permitting!
Ride stats : 42.9 miles in 2hrs 33m @ 16.8mph. 762ft of ascent and 2202kcals energy used