Nov 18

Road Race Training Ride #7

The seventh HTRC winter training ride took place on Saturday 17 November. It’s been six weeks since we started these sessions and they’ve proved very successful thus far and the seventh ride proved to be no different.

The weather was kind to us again with just a gentle breeze which meant we had a great turnout of 13 riders.

We had Shaun Nicholson, Mike McAllister, myself, Neil and Mandy Dean, Will Thomas, Andy Carroll, Matthew Johnson, George Leighton, Danny Posnett, Rich Guymer, Dave Walker, Chris Burton and Gary Knowles of Beverley Velo.

Setting off, as always, from Skidby Mill, we headed north up towards Walkington at a relatively gentle pace. That was until Will Thomas came to the front and added a few mph to the speed, which meant the group started to fracture slightly behind. Will sometimes doesn’t know how powerful he is and tends to half wheel the opposite rider, which was me in this case. However to his credit he recognised this and moved over. Best solution for a group if someone is going to fast is to get them to sit at the back for a bit.

Last week we tried to ensure that everyone had a turn to the front which we pretty much achieved. We must have some quick learners in the group as they brought this skill to the group this week without having to be told to move over. Even just sparing a few minutes on the front helps to contribute to the groups efficiency, as opposed to having the same two wearing themselves into the ground by being on the front for the majority of the ride and it was good to see that everyone did their fair share.

After Walkington we headed through Cherry Burton and then, unconventionally, turned East towards Leconfield, through the village and on towards Lockington. I was keeping an eye on tractors for most of the ride, as I’d seen a report last week in the Hull Daily Mail where one had lost control and knocked over a bus shelter on the A164 at Beswick. Fortunately nothing like that happened whilst we were on the A164 and we got through to Lockington in one piece, although Mandy Dean headed off as she was saving her legs for a lengthy run on the Sunday.

After Lockington we headed to one of my favourite villages, Beswick before then heading on to Middleton. Now it was at about this point where I was starting to think that we were doing well to have avoided any mishaps. As is usually the case, I’d thought too quickly and Dave Walker hit a pot hole at speed causing an immediate puncture. He advised us to carry on whilst Mike, Neil & Rich helped to repair the puncture and pace him back to the group.

Our chosen course this week to work on our through and off group skills was the Etton course and I decided to split the group into two to cover a couple of laps. We were missing Chris Burton though, as his legs had had enough for the day so he was the next to head off.

In group one was myself, Shaun, Gary and Matthew with group two containing Andy, Danny, George and Will. These groups soon swelled though as we encountered the puncture repair team of Neil, Rich, Mike and Dave around the back of the course. Mike and Rich joined our group with Neil and Dave joining group two.

Despite encountering the same two horses time after time (they must have though we were stalking them by the third time) we had a fairly clean run and once we were in full flow, I thought we worked better than ever. I was particularly impressed with how tight our group was especially into the stiff headwind on the back of the course. However it wasn’t total plain sailing. The current theme of our rides just recently seems to be punctures and Matthew Johnson was next. A softening rear tyre meant he too headed off early. A shame really as his group riding looks to be coming on.

On the final climb up to the finish of the course I suggested that Mike should take some shots of the group behind. Mike so far has taken some great shots of riders once we’ve stopped but I don’t think he’s had any of the riders once they’re riding. So once Will Thomas won the two man sprint over his Moda twin George (just to clarify they have the exact same Moda bike), it gave Mike the chance to take some photos of riders on the move and group two the opportunity to work on their celebrations. I’m sure these will come into practice throughout the 2014 season.

We then headed back on mass soaking up the good weather and the fine autumn scenery. It was another top day with 47 miles covered with a average of 17.3mph or 28kph for those who prefer continental units.

For my rider of the day, I think I’m going to go with Andy Carroll. For those who don’t know, Andy had a severe cardiac arrest in April, so we all feel lucky to just have him around let alone riding his bike. But he’s been out every week come rain or shine and today we started to see glimpses of the old Andy. He had no trouble staying in his group and dug deep on the hills to keep with us on the return leg.

Next week’s ride will be the morning after our clubs dinner, so we may have to see how people feel (a few in the group are known to like a beer or six) on the morning and go from there.

Hopefully we’ll have a similar crowd and similar weather for next week.


Have a look at the photos on our Flickr account


Mark Walker
HTRC Road Race Secretary