Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Club run

Sunday was Middleton CC club run day - with me as a guest rider seeing as I haven't renewed my membership with them. It proved to be a day like no other.

I'd arranged to meet the guys at Droylsden Academy as it's close to my place and on the pre-planned route to Uppermill, so at a few minutes to 9:40 I hoicked Everest downstairs and out into the crisp chilled (make that frozen) air, locked up and shoved my hands into my cheats winter gloves - 'normal' non-cycle full finger gloves with mitts over the top (I find these better than winter cycle gloves), pulled my buff up (yep, it was cold enough for my buff) and set off to find the one-way streets have changed direction, back to how they used to be, so I found myself heading the wrong way along a short section (on the pavement too, how naughty am I?!) rather than trying to fight my way through the stupid contraflow and literally riding in circles to get to where I needed to be.

After a very chilly 5 minutes wait I saw 2 flouro people pootling in my direction - Paul and Joe were the only other club members brave enough to ride on the day that winter hit.

We set off through roadworks and round a fiveway roundabout to head to Moorside St and through to Daisy Nook where the rain began to fall from the carpet of cloud that had formed. After stopping to put on rain jackets and my phone into Paul's camelback, we pootled on through Daisy Nook and up to the climb on Vicarage Rd. After staying behind the others on the route so far and seeing them crawl up Newmarket Rd I decided that Vicarage Rd would be a much faster affair for myself; I sat behind them to the base of the climb and it's first bend biding my time. The second bend came up and I chose my moment and launched an attack that they failed to respond to. I did my usual mountain-goat impression I do on some ridiculously short steep climbs and hauled ass to the top in double quick time while they crawled up in a gentlemanly fashion. Still, it gave me time to schlurp some of my energy-powered vimto - neutral High-5 tabs in vimto - while waiting for them.

Along to Mossley Rd, between Stamford Park and it's boating lake and to the Stamford/Ridge Hill lights where a left turn took us to Wakefield Rd where the spitting rain turned into rain, then into sleety rainy crap. Climbing round past the top of Cockerhill Rd and the shit got heavier still. And colder. Much colder.

By the time we got to Heyrod and under the railway line the shit couldn't make it's mind up if it was gonna be rain, sleet or snow and the roads were collecting standing water. A fellow cyclist passed us at this point as he headed Ashton direction and seemed surprised to see us in the weather - and we, him. Soon another cyclist was passing us looking rather soggy and grumbling about the weather.

Cycling a section of road where the railway is on one side and the River Tame is on the other, it was hard to work out which was louder - the trains passing or the gushing of the very swollen river as it crashed over a weir and carried on smashing it's way through the valley. That wasn't the only river though as the standing water on the roads was getting deeper (around 1cm deep so far) and had begun to flow quite happily along the road. By this point we were all getting very wet with the rain seeping through clothes (4 layers in my case) as the rain got heavier and the spray got worse.

We were originally going to head to Uppermill, but seeing as we were nearing Mossley we decided to see if any cafes were open (they weren't). We stopped at Mossley Station to discuss what to do. Seeing as there was water pouring down Stamford Rd instead of going into the drains, and I was beginning to get very cold due to now being rather wet we chose to head back home.

Turning round in a pond and getting back onto Manchester Rd was easier than anticipated and we set off home the same way we headed out. By now we all had ponds in our shoes despite wearing neoprene overshoes (the rest of us was soggy anyway so why not pool in the shoes) meaning every pedal stroke squeezed out socks to some extent and every pull on the brakes produced visible water run-off from the squeezing out of gloves.

Reaching Ridge Hill Rd lights where we turn right to climb up to Mossley Rd and I was forced into taking evasive action - we were at the front of the lane and the lights turned to the green filter for my lane to turn right; as I was making my turn a car from the opposite side of the lights decided that as soon as his lights changed to green he was gonna mow down anything in its way. My evasive action meant I had to tighten my turn and resulted in going the wrong side of an island, luckily there weren't any cars there or I'd have ended up laying on their bonnets or perfecting my superman impressions.

Back home I couldn't make my mind up which was wetter - myself or the lake that was forming outside my front door! Once indoors I dropped my clothes where I stood and made for a hot bath before heading to my parent's place.

Many fellow polar bears and penguins met along the way.
Temp - 3c with real feel of 0c
Miles: 17.13
Average speed: 11mph (slow, but with slicks in the rain/sleet/snow it can't be helped)
Climbed: 520ft


  1. I took one look at the weather last Sunday and decided I was staying in bed. I've been chickening out quite a bit with the recent weather conditions.

    I'm glad to hear that you've sorted your knee out so that you can now ride / climb.

  2. The horrid weather was supposed to arrive mid afternoon - that was the only reason I went out. Instead it decided to arrive at least 3 hrs early!

    Sadly the knee isn't sorted yet - I've not received an appointment to see the physio yet, but Doc has said to keep going on the bike, so I am. When I can be bothered to get out that is ;oD

  3. Ah Sunday was in deed a day when only the truly mad ventured out, I too was soaked through four layers, it was another day when the waterproof/windproof socks stop the water flowing out but the water appears to flow into them!

    Good luck with the knee.

  4. You still doing track day? will be good to see you ride there. I attended physio for my knee last week and instead of physio she said can't do anything and started to do some psychiatric crap. Obsessive was one word she used amongst others :) Maybe if I tell you the same your knee will magically become better?

  5. John - the weather was truly the crappest it has been for me on a ride in a very, very long time!
    That's precisely what happened with my overshoes. Maybe I need to buy some new ones - I have had them for several years now.

  6. Crimmey - Yeah I'll still be riding the track day. Defo be doing the sprint, unsure about the 1kTT and the 2k pursuit. Haven't ridden track since January and haven't ridden quite so hard as needed for the events for a very long time.

    It really will depend on the knee situation too. Maybe you should try the psychiatric munbo-jumbo on me and see if it works ;oP