It was a wet, very wet Thursday, in fact a wet yesterday. Iwasgoodonce turned up looking like a bright orange drowned rat, resplendent in hi-viz gear, fresh from a day on the railways. My brew was complete, the yeast was in and multiplying like crazy.
The date had been set a few weeks earlier with high hopes of a quick spin under a blazing-blue Warwickshire sky. Weather predictions courtesy of the BBC had got progessively worse, to the point where i gave up looking and instead relied upon tea-leaves and other such divinations.
It was chucking it down as Mark hauled his disassembled bike from the car and as far as i could see there weren't that many bits. All the usual stuff but missing a derailleur, shifters and all that jazz. I had a quick scoot on the floor but no, they were not there.
Mark explained it was fixed and manly-fixed as well with a slightly dulled Miche 52 front ring and a quick squint revealed a touch smaller and shinier 16 at the rear. A buff gentleman's 85" for those who are interested. It certainly cast a damp shadow across my slightly effeminate 74".
Pleasantries were exchanged in that peculiar English fashion, with observations upon the state of the weather and offerings of hot tea but the prevarication couldn't last. We meditated on Rule No5 and plunged into the rain. Within seconds Mark was complaining of a damp crotch. It would seem i hadn't lost my touch. The miles past squishily, myself spinning a pleasant 90 - 100 while Mark seemingly turned one revolution with every season.
My mudguards and natty front mudguard flap were doing nothing to stem the flow of water. The moisture content of the air was way over 100% and Mark was beginning to look soggy. My robustly engineered Aldi computer gave up the ghost, probably nothing to do with speed and more to do with water ingress. A few moments later Mark's Cateye gave up and his Garmin (yes! two computers) went a bit funny. With a few miles to ago we hit a pleasant mile-long downhill and agreed to wind it up. Rattling along, in the tuck, wind on the nose it occurred to me that Ed was right, Warwickshire winds are always head winds. Fortunately there was only one hill of note, the hill back up the brewery from where we started.
We hit Atherstone at a soggy crawl, into a headwind up the drag past 3M. Mark paused at a mini roundabout, while i vainly attempted to track stand when, as he pulled away i was showered with shards of flying plastic coming from his direction. I paused to fish the bits from the road surface, they were pieces of pedal, seemingly pieces from 'LOOK' pedals. Didn't Mark have these?
The combination of big gears and very manly guns had taken their toll and he had literally pulled his pedals to pieces. 'I wondered why i couldn't clip in properly' was the first comment. 'Have we got to go up this hill?" the second and 'Stop!! i feel sick' the third as we crested the first of the three climbs to get to the brewery. I was too much of a gentleman to point out that there are no hills around here, but full of admiration for going up them on 85" and then only being able turn the cranks with the toes.
Top, top effort Mark!!