Dolan or Specialized, Dolan or Specialized? All kitted up, this was what was running through my head today. Do I take the new bike and put to bed all those horrible rumours that I don't actually own it and have just been posting pictures of someone elses, at the risk of getting it all gunked up if it rains? Or, play it safe and take my old faithful Specialized Secteur (though it's not even a year old yet). Specialized won the day.
Whizzing out from home, I buzzed out at about 20mph for the first four miles, following which, there's a two and a half mile drag up from Stockton Heath to Stretton (which wakes the old legs up) and I just stuck it in an easy gear and spun up at around 10mph. Hitting Stretton, there were a bunch of members already congregating and a good bit of banter in full flow!
Run was flat and windy today. We set off at about 17mph and there was a good few gusts to keep us alert. We bunched up reasonably well, which gave us a chance to have a natter in the group. I'd put the route into my new Garmin 705, but - for some reason - it wasn't showing the directions, so need to sort that out (he say's nudging and winking at fellow club members Gary, Sarah and Paul). Andy took us up one of his faux Roubaix shortcuts, which is a little hill, untarmaced and undulating (lot's of clean bikes took a battering). Cafe stop was funny, got chatting to a 93 year old lady who had never ridden a bike in her life, offered her a quick run on the back of mine, but she wasn't biting :-)
Felt good on the bike today, miles just seemed to fly by and we were back in Stretton in a jiffy. Great little bit of action at the end as Andy got the jump on club member Mark (Mark Cavendish in training of the club) in the dying half a mile. Mark's up for a sprint at any time! Andy put the hammer down and Mark chased after him, however, the element of surprise and some serious power took Andy to victory, even though he was still a bit under the weather. Mark, come on my man? (Mark, incidentally writes a blog too, which you can read here).
I did the ride up and bike from home, so added another fourteen miles onto the club run total. We bumped into a fellow doing day three of a Lands End to John O' Groats run (LEJOG), you can read about it on fellow club member Ade's blog here. What's impressive is that he was 72 years old. Long story short, we gave him a tow through Warrington, waving him off to continue up the A49 towards Wigan. I hope I can do that when I'm older.
Arriving home, I honestly thought I could have done another twenty or thirty miles today, legs felt fresh. I did think to run the Dolan out for a little "round the block", however arriving home, my son greeted me with the football and we got straight into a little game. Still, reckon I'll do another 40 in the morning if the weather's nice. Ride summary. Distance 52 miles, time 3hrs 20 mins, Avg. Speed 16.5mph, Avg. Cadence (N/A), calories burned (estimate) 2633.