Alex reminds me that this isn’t fast; in fact we’ve gone faster before!
Toby smiles; it’s his second weekend out in a row, and I suspect he’s enjoying himself! We’ve pulled over on Guilford high-street to wait for the rest of the team and are enjoying a pain-au-chocolat in the unusual, yet altogether welcome sun. The brief race up the cobbles is a nice reminder of our spell on Roubaix.
Just a moment ago we were swooping through Woking. A friendly pair of father and son joins us for the Sunday adventure. It turns out that ‘dad’ was a pro in the 70’s and ‘son’ used to ride with Big-G – Geraint Thomas. You never know who you’ll bump into on a weekend ride.
We take a mo to admire the Captain’s ride. It’s looking sweet: with a whole new set-up and even rubber guards on the cabling to keep the paintwork clean. Although, it’s not long before we set off and I don’t even get a chance to look over this fancy new crank everyone is talking about. We’ll leave the toys for later. Now it’s time to move.
As for the pain, the fault lies with me. I’m supposed to lead us straight on for the Coldharbour heights, but instead I take us left onto Ranmore Common, leading to the tight trench of Bagden Hill. Distance, it seems, is the order of the day. Well, it’s also a fine day for a white-knuckle descent too, and like TeJay, I didn’t hear them. As we regroup towards Box, I make it up to the Flying B’s by suggesting we do a loop to recoup the miles. No surprise, Toby gets his gears on and he’s away. By the time we make the second switch, he’s only recognisable from afar because he looks like he’s on a moped and not on a bike, whilst everyone else is rolling on squares.
We make moves for climb number 2 and I’m running on granny gears like never before. I don’t think there’s ever been a chain mark on them till this day. The Big B’s are long gone and I’m being passed by like a sausage past its sell-by-date. Calves burn. The Vastus Medialis muscle, the muscle by your knees, starts to bulge and I’m experiencing a whole new world of pain. Then everything fades to pink.
This trailer for the Giro d’Italia kicks in after 1.13 – when no words are necessary:
Sunday-Monday-Wednesday-Thursday: Crazy as it sounds Alex and Ben come up with a Monday recovery ride around Regent’s. It could very well hold the Strava ‘Lantern-Rouge’ Record for the slowest pace ever recorded. Wednesday is a two-man affair Alex says “Sod, this – let’s ride again,” and carries me to new pain threshold. Then eases us back to save some for today. As busy as Wednesday is, Thursday is like Oxford St. on a late night shopping frenzy. People on two feet pause, somewhat bemused, to see groups of cyclists whizz through the inner city park. Alex, Ben, Dave, Glen, Toby and I achieve 12+ laps at pace. At one point Alex says “I can see you loving the pain!” How do you respond to that?
Soon after, when Alex bridges a gap on a breakaway, and I’m about to blow, Ben encourages, “That’s your wheel – that’s your wheel – look he’s getting tired – you’re closing – you’re closing!”
I yell “SHUT UP LEGS AND DO WHAT I SAY!” By the end of it, calves and Vastas Medialias are shouting stop, but the B-Family have got me past yet another threshold. And to be honest, it’s the little voices in the head that need vanquishing, more than the physical pain. We stop to grab a bite and we are satisfied with the week’s training.
The Big Baroudeur Ride (BBR) is an opportunity to ride socially as friends. Created with the knowledge that rides like above could be, but not necessarily be the aim for everyone. It’s a chance to break free from the shackles of the busy parks and explore. If that sounds like fun – come along. Our next ride is this bank-holiday Sunday 5 May, meeting at Richmond Cafe at 0845 for a 0900 departure. The first for 2013. Depending on who turns up there is normally a ‘lead’ and ‘chase’ group; with the lead having the option to take on a longer Surrey route, with the chase group doing a short, but very well worth ride towards Box Hill. It won’t fade to pink, but we’ll most definitely have the Giro to talk about. Welcome to the BBR!