Putting on the Kitz - where fashion fits (even in XL)
Ooh the excitement!
Ooh the excitement!
Putting on the kitz
Late on Friday 9th May the call came through from Keiran that we had all been waiting for: our team kit from Champion Systems had arrived! Such was the excitement that Keiran was forced to take on the role of Logistics manager, touring Essex dropping off said kit ready for Saturday’s ride.
So there we were in Witham, bright and early on Saturday, grinning like Cheshire cats in our lovely new kits. The next decision was key though, where to go? Despite the inclement weather, James Burns was feeling inspired by the #unstoppable jersey hanging by his bed that morning and Lee was up for a challenge, so off we headed to take on Little Baddow’s Mighty North Hill.
For those not local to Essex, this is about the biggest hill local to us with an average gradient of 5% over 1.1 miles and 10% at its steepest. Surely a good start in our preparation for the Surrey Hills in August. So a cruise through Terling towards Little Baddow ensued but the headwinds were not offering the pre-climb assistance we had been hoping for. Descending to Paper Mill lock normally allows a rider a nice rest and good build up of speed prior to TMNH but not on Saturday. In fact, whichever way we rode, the wind seemed to be against us but we were not detered and myself, James B, Lee, Keiran and Paul wished each other well at the bottom and went for it.
Kieran was first to reach the summit with relative ease, although an unfortunate involuntary unclipping nearly scuppered his effort. Next to arrive at the top was myself having negotiated a reversing car that totally disrupted my cadence (honestly!) and then came Paul with an impressive climb for a relative newbie. With James B and Lee both still recovering from serious injury, the effort and determination shown was impressive as first James and then Lee arrived at the summit to join the rest of us trying to regain control of our breathing. For most of us, this was a first attempt at TMNH and some lessons were learnt for next time. One thing is for sure, it’s much easier in a car!
Pulse rate relatively normal, we continued on to Danbury and then Woodham Walter towards Hatfield Peverel, where the high winds had left an array of detritus all over the roads that made too much pace hazardous. As we arrived in Hatfield Peveral, Keiran’s tyre decided to puncture itself, just to make sure we had to stop at a café for a very tasty sausage/bacon sarnie. Tyre fixed, Kieran also uncharacteristically ordered food rather than his usual OJ and a puff of wind. It was this change in the routine that proved his downfall as his newly repaired tyre once again punctured, presumably out of shock or under the increased weight.
So as Lee & I sped towards home, Kieran, Paul and James took a leisurely ride back via a more direct route. A very enjoyable 25 miler with some good ascents all round, but as everyone headed off I was feeling good and decided to ride home via a new route. Taking in more hills and some busier roads seemed like a good idea until I realised the wind had gotten up considerably and the Roubaix’s lightweight frame was being pushed from pillar to post on the open roads. So, plan aborted I headed for the safety of home via the most direct route completing 40 miles overall.
Next up is a ride on Saturday around the TOWIEzone and then a team curry to discuss future events.
Thanks for reading & watch this space.