It was a dark early start at 7:30am to pick up the boys for Series 1 of the Performance Cycles Winter Mini-Sportive with a 50 minute drive to Nr Cirencester for an 8:30 registration.
A quick round up of the boys to load up the bikes on the roof rack and a few nervous moments, involving compression clamps and carbon fibre frames – not the most suitable mix as the balance of how tight to clamp versus being safe in the knowledge that you’re not going to lose the bike enroute and not split the frame personally makes me nervous… on many levels!!
Fortunately we arrived in plenty of time to register with 1…2…3… bikes still secure overhead and frames still intact. On arrival it was a bit of a quagmire underfoot which was going to set the conditions for the ride with cautious warning from the organisers, who did a great job I might add.
After signing in and stocking up on some rather disgusting energy gels we were off. Feeling a little chilly I wished I had taken Neil’s lead on the “Better to be too hot than to cold” theory. However we all soon warmed up “bigmac” (Neil) included! So much so that a quick stop was in order to remove some layers otherwise we might have ended up with a wheeler suffering from heat exhaustion.
We were all aware of the sharp 15/16% climb on the 15 mile mark just as you drop into Nailsworth and I can safely assure you that none of us were particularly looking forward to it! Known as The Ladder with an almost Tour De France winding road feel to it but without the views it pretty much lived up to expectation. Although Mik left us for dust a big effort was put in by all, especially Neil who sailed past a loan walker (out of the saddle) like a pro, respect to the walker though; he was on his own and could have probably done a better job with an encouraging buddy.
At the top we discussed our achievements and flew over Minchinhampton common and beyond cruising at an average 22/23 mph drafting, hanging off wheels feeling like we were some kind of locomotive with the kinetic energy of a bullet! Ok I might have dressed that up a bit but we were going pretty fast!!
So thinking we’d climbed the worst at around the 25 mile mark and we only had one last nasty climb we cruised on… we hit what we thought was the last drag only to hit another pretty brutal and unexpected 13% climb, although it was pretty short to be fair it was still tough on the quads!
On to the finish and a welcome bacon roll and a cup of tea, there is nothing quite like a cup of tea at the end of a gruelling ride – I would highly recommend it. As too would I highly recommend one of the most friendly and well organised events in Gloucestershire, if you’re interested there will be at least a couple of other Woodmancote Wheelers signed up to one of these events that are running every month until March 2015. For more details do checkout the club events page.
Thumbs up to Performance Cycles and I am personally looking forward to the next ride.