Riders: Jenny Down, Hayley Squires, Pete Down, Mark Badger, Brendan Cunnane, Martin Graves, Stephen Greig, John Musgrove, Nicholas Kay, Ash Daughtrey, Lawrence Buckley, Gary Durham, Adrian Shores, Paul Ferguson, Mick Abbiss, Martin Bagshaw
After all the sub-zero weather conditions we’ve endured recently it was refreshing to meet for a ride with temperatures at a balmy 5° and no risk of coming off on slippery corners, or so we thought!
The change in the weather coaxed 16 riders out of hibernation including Nick Kay, now a seasoned 9:00’er and Paul Ferguson, a guest out with the club for the first time. Safety brief complete, Mick installed as back marker it was time to get the show on the road.
Out of Tickhill we followed familiar roads through Harworth in a tight 2x2 formation and must have looked pretty professional as we headed for a planned routine left turn onto Snape Lane Industrial estate. Pretty good until a rogue patch of oil or diesel brought down the lead rider, which coincidently was me, in a dramatic face plant! The club did what it does in these situations and while Jenny cleaned me up with antiseptic wipes from the first aid kit others checked out my bike and after a few minutes rider and bike were good to go.
Continuing our way, all be it with a little more cautiously round the corners, we assured our guest rider Paul that not all our rides were this dramatic. The 2x2 formation was preserved as we headed through Mattesey and Clayworth with conversation ranging from menu choices for the upcoming Dinner & Dance to holiday plans for the coming year.
In Clayworth we ignored the left turn up Strawberry hill instead crossed the canal for a long straight run into Retford. Club discipline maintained as we navigated a major Strava segment with no one shooting off we reached Clarborough together and followed smaller roads to bypass Retford town centre via Little Gringley. We did take a couple of minutes here as it appeared that my Garmin had lost the route as a result of the fall but it reloaded with no problems.
Martin G took the lead as we headed out of Retford and headed passed Gamston Airport where we were accompanied briefly by a light aircraft landing next to the road before turning on Old London Road to avoid the busy A1. The quiet roads didn’t last and it wasn’t too long before we had to pick our way across the A1 junction and head into Clumber Park. Blazing a trial along the 7:00 route through Clumber I don’t think we threatened any Strava records although with the café in sight the disciplined formation broke down into a scone frenzied dash leaving the injured ride leader to have a chat with Mick our faithful back marker again!
Even though we lost Martin G and Gary in Clumber park as they needed to be home early, 12 riders arriving at the Old School Tea Room still required a bit of table shuffling but eventually we were all seated. Fuel / food orders were placed ranging from scrambled eggs to blackberry crumble and custard and it was nice to be surrounded by caring fellow club members who all thought it hilarious that I had to drink my coffee through a straw thanks to my increasingly swollen lips, good job I’ve got the skin of a rhino! The food was good although Ash explained how the poached eggs should have been cooked in cling film parcels to retain their shape, amazing what you learn on these club rides.
Food consumed it was time to leave the ladies at the café to try and remember where all the tables should be and get back on the road. The love / hate relationship with Clumber was illustrated by a vote to take the main road back into Worksop rather than venturing back through the park. So it was that after a bit of panting on the up the hill bits we swept down Sparken hill into Worksop to negotiate the town centre lights and roundabouts. The series of lights gave ample opportunity for the more skilled riders to demonstrate their track stand abilities while the other riders demonstrated their confidence in them by giving them plenty of room!
Heading out of Worksop we stayed together right up to the last set of Lights where three of us got held up and separated as we watched the others disappear in a “last few miles to home” push for the finish line. Our little “B” ride made our own way back with Mr Kay cementing his position in the 9:00 group by taking the front on all the hills.
Back at the Cricket club it was handshakes all round and a thumbs up from Paul who wasn’t put off by the ride leader’s stunt cornering techniques and said he’d definitely be back to join us again.
Jenny Down – First club ride after appendix surgery and tending to my cuts and grazes.
Peter Down – knees out in January.
Nick Kay – Taking the front on the return leg and dragging a stiffening ride leader home.
Everyone – Despite the ribbing, for taking care of me after the my fall and during the rest of the ride.