It was always going to be tight making the regular club chain gang tonight. But, why not I thought, the clocks have gone forward and the evenings are getting lighter and it would be my first time out this year. I rode home quickly on the mtb, said hello to the family, switched shoes, sucked down a gel then said goodbye to the family. The girls were glued to cbeebies, so I could shave a few seconds there for next week.
The chain gang starts in St Neots, heads out to Higham Ferrers then back again. I had planned to link up at Great Staughton. Half a mile out I saw them go flying by. Crap. I counted 5 of them. Me against 5 of them. To chase. I hoped none of the strong men were out, unlikely I know.
For the next 11 miles I doggedly pursued them along the B645 to Higham Ferrers. When the road ahead straightened, I would get a tantalising glimpse then they would disappear around the next sweeping bend. I think I was just holding them, but I certainly wasn’t gaining.
I slogged up the hill after Chelveston, a mile from the turn, and admitted I would not catch them, so I sat-up and had a drink and gel. I didn’t have long to rest and I was soon swept up for the return leg.
Heading back the sun was still up, there was a slight tailwind and the route was more downhill than up. We set a blistering pace. It felt good to be riding in a small group again; working together in the pursuit of speed. Surging to the front, doing a turn until the next rider goes by and you get a few seconds relief, it really is an exhilarating way to ride a bike.
I peeled off for home and my legs still felt strong. That is my legs still felt strong until the final climb before home. Then they cursed me. I know didn’t they could send Morse code messages with lactic acid, but it seems they can.
This week I will practice my routine and next Wednesday night I will aim to be on time, otherwise I will be teaching my legs some manners.