Nov 11

Road Race Training Ride #6

The sixth installment of the end of season training rides took place on Saturday 9th November in very chilly conditions. It wasn’t quite freezing but we had eleven very well wrapped up riders.

Participating were Andy Carroll, Will Thomas, George Leighton, Chris Brown, Shaun Nicholson, Dave Walker, Mark Walker, Mike McAllister, Danny Posnett, Rob Almond and Cliff.

After the usual poses for photos at Skidby Mill, we headed off towards Walkington via Little Weighton to then head up the lengthy drag up towards the top of High Hunsley. One thing I was keen on getting the riders doing was to make sure that everyone had a turn on the front, even if it was for just a few minutes. However, on the road between Skidby and Little Weighton we almost came a cropper as two of the guys on the front decided to let someone else come through, only they didn’t really inform the guys behind what they were doing, almost leading to a crash. Fortunately we didn’t come down and afterwards we had no further trouble with changeovers. Communication being the key here.

It wasn’t long after that, that we encountered our first (of many) puncture of the day, with the unfortunate casualty been Will Thomas, who is surely now well in the lead of the unofficial puncture leaderboard after picking up a couple in previous sessions. He’s  gotten pretty good when it comes to repairing punctures though, as we were back on the road in no time.

After descending, rather than climbing Newbald Hill much to many riders’ glee, we headed through Hotham and on towards Broomfleet, lead by the rather resplendent looking Andy Carroll and Chris Brown in their matching HTRC kit. With the pair of them being similar in height you could be mistaken for thinking they were twins. They were riding at a decent pace too, around the 20 mph mark.

Our rhythm was interrupted though by having to wait for a couple of trains, which gave Andy Carroll the chance to make us laugh with some rather amusing comments about the train barrier operator (too rude to note down what he said unfortunately). Once the trains had cleared we headed off towards Elloughton to climb up the infamous Elloughton Dale. Not the hardest climb in the area, but a stiff gradient nonetheless.

Unfortunately, Chris Brown had to get off. Not so much down to the gradient but more because of a flattening tyre. He advised us to carry on as he wasn’t too far from home.

(Chris Brown adds – I found a nice patch of sunlight 50 metres back down the climb, fixed the rear wheel puncture, and remounted after 20 mins or so to try to catch the group by riding round the Little Weighton RR course in reverse, but I turned off home after half a lap after seeing no other cyclists.  Being so close to the through-and-off portion of the ride it did seem a shame to hold everyone up and cause them to get cold.)

I then stopped the group at Riplingham and decided to split the bunch into two groups of 5, with Andy, Rob, Dave, George and Danny in the first group and then myself, Shaun, Mike, Cliff and Will in the 2nd group with the aim of keeping the two groups within around 100 metres of each other whilst covering a lap and a half of the Little Weighton RR course. It worked really well for the 1st lap and some of the lesser experienced riders in group 2 seemed to be able to look after themselves.

Unfortunately group one had a bit to much difference in ability as we could see it crumbling one by one in front of us. Eventually there was just a strong looking Rob and Danny left. I made the junction from the 2nd to the 1st group to add a bit of organisation and avoid having a situation where we had 10 riders working in one group, which from previous rides is just too big a number to manage. It seemed to do the trick and despite it been a little pacy for this time of year, we started to work really well and fluidly. Group 2 were still working really well, so much so they caught us right on the line where we decided to call it a day and give Mike the chance to whip out his camera again.

The action wasn’t quite over though, as I was the next one to succumb to a puncture. It seemed to be a slow puncture as there was still a bit of air in the tyre by the time we reached Skidby. I had to eventually get off once the tyre was sliding on the rim, but thanks to my trusty lieutenant Shaun, we had just enough air to get home.

All in all a top day,  the weather was great and the route had a bit of everything, meaning we covered 45 miles with an average of around 17.5 mph.

For my rider of the day, well I think I’m going to go with Shaun Nicholson. Shaun’s bubbly morale has spread throughout the group since he’s started coming out and his riding is coming along nicely. I virtually left him in charge of the group on the Little Weighton course and he, along with the others, kept it together nicely. Plus he had a pump when I didn’t.

For next week I think we’ll attempt another group session on one of the road race courses and polish off our group riding skills. Perhaps the Etton course will be included in a ride out to Lockington and the surrounding area.


Check out the photos on Hull Thursday’s Flickr account

Mark Walker
HTRC Road Race Secretary