Another week of a huge Peloton of riders, 21 this week, a mix of old hands, new kids on the block and young wipper snappers set off on two rides, one off to Hawley and the other going the reverse route out to Lullingston. Great thing was riding out together you could decide which ride to take on the split at Crockenhill, depending on how your legs were as there was going to be a bit of climbing to do later in the day. The pace was fast and furious from the off, some hanging off the back, with The Gaffer shooting up the road to bring them back and everyone subsequently following, trying to hold an even tempo on a mixed ability ride was going to be a bit of a challenge as it proved for most of the day!!
Safely through the traffic coming down from Blackfen and through Bexley, once we hit the North Cray Road we managed to re-group but only for a matter of minutes as the pace went up again and whilst the Gaffer once again tried to reel in those that were flying up the road, everyone mistakenly chased after and of course once more a few were dropped off the back.
By the time we got to the split at Sheepcote Lane/Crockenhill those who had enough of the “interval training” took a left to Hawley while those that wanted to continue with this little game flew down the hill with MG frantically trying not to lose anyone, the whole group shot straight past him and raced up to the bridge with Alvaro holding back the baying wolves until the rest of the group, with Colin (Clips is up for sale on e-bay apparently) doing his usual gentlemanly bit of rounding up the rest with MG stuck in the middle of it all.
On reaching the bridge the back markers flew straight past, those at the front were now at the back as we all dropped down Crockenhill to Eynsford where for probably the first and only time on the ride, MG the ride leader was at the front setting a pace that everyone could stay with as we all dropped down into Lullingston and time for coffee, cake and chat.
What happened to cycling etiquette, CPT had a table set banquet style and whilst MG had the common courtesy to say good morning they all looked and said nothing in reply. So table banqueting style LEC too, plonked themselves next to said triathlon club, who almost immediately got up and left without so much as a cheery “chapeau”.
Never mind, - refreshed refueled and with some free climbing advice given by Obe Wan Kenobi himself, to some of those that were looking a tad worried, (when has MG ever bent the truth about how tough a climb is, honestly!) the pack took a right turn and almost immediately came upon Redmond’s Lane “Oh the big steep one we can see the lavender fields from” exclaimed one. Climbing well, the group took the first left- about half way up and continued on down Castle Farm Road, Alvaro again chasing after a few as MG waited at the junction for the stragglers. 14 then became 13 as Sean flew up Shacklands with the rest turning right and started the climb up Cockerhurst Road. A short climb changing from 7% to 20% in a few places (would make a cracking hill climb end of season !!) we re-joined Redmond’s at the top and then it was onto the short climb of Firmongers Road and the descent down Skeet Hill lane to join Chelsfield Lane and the A224. The 13 becoming 14 again as Sean re- joined the group from god knows where!!
At this point MG dropped the flag and flew along the road only getting tagged at the roundabout before we took a left onto Watery Lane and the ride back through Sidcup where the squad started to split and say their goodbyes, whilst the rest flew onwards towards the park.
A special mention to a few: - A massively huge thanks to Alvaro who managed to hold back a fast pace group and keeping everyone together whilst the Ride Leader was back down the road looking after the rest of the squad. Colin being his usual tail-end Charlie for which we are getting very comfortable with and a huge well done to Martin, Dennis, Bradders and Lucy who became climbing superstars for the morning and lastly Greg hope your gears get sorted or was that all part of the training plan???