January 2nd to 21st May 2011 = 139 days or 4 months 2 weeks and 6 days, this is the period of time that has elapsed since I broke a few bones on black ice during the first club run of 2011 to the day of my North Cheshire Clarion club run return. I have been awaiting a club run that was billed as flat or nearly flat and up to 30 miles for a few weeks and today was one such ride. Sunday rides are out for now as they are too long or hilly so the Saturday club ride is ideal. These rides are designed for the new rider or perhaps the experienced rider joining a club for the first time in order to obtain the experience of safely and efficiently riding in a group before they progress to the longer hillier Sunday rides. Saturday rides also have another unadvertised function - they are ideal for the rider returning from long term illness or injury.
So Saturday morning comes along and I'm up early looking out of the window for anything that may put me off such as rain clouds accumulating on the horizon just waiting for me to step out the door or perhaps frost or ice or snow and there's nothing, so I get all my stuff together and set off for Winwick. Arriving, there are 22 riders so we are set off in small groups and I join up with John Rigby, Steve Ellis amongst others and nervously start the ride, initially I'm slightly pre-occupied looking for anything that may cause me to trip up, anything that will make me hit the deck again. Corners are bad, I take them wide, the sight of a single piece of gravel had me tensing up waiting waiting, on mini roundabouts I'm looking for diesel but two good things are going through my mind firstly something I read in the signature of a club forum member, words from Lance "If you're worried about falling off the bike, you'd never get on it" which I am but I can't live my life wondering if I'm going to fall off so I just need to get out and ride. The other thought is a simple fact, the fact that I've only fallen off three times in the last three years and two of those falls have been on black ice - I have never fallen due to debris on the road, today there was gravel on some corners but no black ice, I will be fine just fine.
As time went on I relaxed somewhat and started to enjoy the ride, it was windy on occasion but dry and warm which was nice. So here we all are tootling along and I'm talking to John, we come to a slight hill, we put some power down, I've moved slightly ahead of John, I hear a metallic snapping noise and out of the corner of my eye I see Johns front wheel at an odd angle and then a sickening thud as John hits the tarmac, I stop and turn expecting the worst but John's already in a sitting position and examining the bottom of his shoe - made out of stern stuff that fella. His cleat still has a pedal attached to it, his pedal has snapped at the axle but John's thankfully OK, a big mark on his right shoulder and probably a banged up elbow and bruises but hopefully nothing more.
After a little thought about how John is to get home we carry on with John one legged pedalling to the next junction where we leave him to the assistance of a fellow club member and we carry on with the rest of the ride which was thankfully uneventful.
So Johns fall aside it was a good ride, there was still a few idiot car drivers around to remind you that you need to have your eyes everywhere. I managed 25 miles without any problems, my legs were good as were my lungs with no real pains, just an ache at times in my hip and my SportTracks training load plugin awarded me a further 3 CTL (chronic training load) points from today's modest efforts and showed on a nice big chart that I'm approaching 'medium' fitness...
25 Miles, 1hr 33min, Av Speed 16.1, Av Hr 144 (75% of Max) 630 ft climbing (Garmin)