Centreville Reliability Ride 1: 7th January 2018
An excellent turnout of massed Centreville members racked up outside Rochdale Town Hall for an early blast, and as it turned out an icy one too, the first victim being Nick, our esteemed club secretary who was bruised and battered from the get-go, having fallen off even before the start, at the end of his preliminary ride from Manchester, on the last corner into the Esplanade. Unlucky, but plucky: undeterred he welcomed all well-wrapped members of what would be a substantial peleton. It was good to see the various groups within the club coming together.
Pauline and Mark on his tandem took the headwind on the first leg to Walsden, and with the group in pairs across 150m it looked at first as if Pauline was doing some weird tandem-based back-stretching with her arms to the skies. But no, she was taking these evocative shots as people chatted along. It’s hard on the back of a tandem though, the foot rests keep spinning round.
As soon as we hit the climb from Hebden Bridge over to Oxenhope the group naturally stretched and split, with the fittest at the front already in training for the racing season ahead pressing on, another group in the middle, and the social riders at the back with a few people with seasonal lurgies. Dan put his head in the wind from Pecket Well to the top of Cock Hill – and felt his effort on the following climbs – pulling away a group including Rick Clough, Paul Whatmough and his mate Mel, Ben Whitehead, Brad Ashworth, Matt Jackson, and Neil Swithenbank.
Andy and I came across Owen walking back in the opposite direction. He seemed fine wheeling his S-works bike along, and I’m sure he appreciated my sensitively helpful tip that cheaper stuff like Sora gears work really well and tend not to break. All heart, eh? At Oxenhope Pauline and Mark were also turning round, as Mark was taking what turned out to be the very sensible decision not to risk his expensive tandem on the ice, with even fewer square millimetres of rubber per person touching the tarmac.
Through Stanbury and onto the climb the frost and ice were more in evidence, and after scar top the road was pretty icy. Nick, Tristan and Jack had waited for me and Andy, but Nick, after climbing nippily was rewarded with his second fall, and sensibly opted to walk anything at all frosty or icy. And quite a lot was.
Several more people came down, and many walked the twisty descent towards Laneshaw Bridge. The front group turned left towards Trawden, but after the first rise the road was so icy it was not safe to continue, and they regrouped back at the junction as other groups came up. The main roads through Colne, Nelson and Burnley were no substitute for the wild beauties of Widdop, but while they were a wasteland in the café department, they had the advantage of not rendering you too bashed up for work the next day, or ruining your season with a more serious crash.
Some peeled off over Dunnockshaw, while at the sharp end Rick Clough had some fun pressing on the gas on the drag up to the top of Cliviger, with Dan and Matt Jackson bridging back by the top. The Bear in Todmorden finally furnished much needed hot drinks, and kindly opened their top floor to accommodate the green, white and blue rabble.
The rear group had meanwhile made the same decision independently, with Nick peeling off to find Tristan who was ensconced in a café in Trawden, with me, Jack and Andy getting way too cold to hang around longer – Jack was recovering from a bug and was having difficulty feeling his gear changes and even his drinks bottle, and I was well into bonk territory by the time I got home for an emergency sandwich. At least we fulfilled the brief of not having a café stop. Ah, the joys of cycling. It was a tad chilly though.
Abortive though the day proved to be, there was a lot to celebrate – a good ride with a couple of decent climbs, a sensible choice to change the route with no serious harm done; and most of all a great chance to ride with friends old and new in a satisfyingly big group. Allez Centreville 2018!
Many thanks to Capn’ Nick for putting the ride together, hope your bruises heal soon…your early bid for the coveted Crasher Trophy has been duly noted.
Hope or to see you out with us soon, see here for what’s going on