|Who are we trying to kid?|
A cycling friend of mine recently said that if a Sportive is a ride where ‘non racers pretend to race’, then a Reliability Ride is ride where ‘racers pretend not to’. Having just experienced my first Reliability Ride I now know exactly what he meant.
I really didn’t know what to expect as I arrived at the sign on, and the first thing that struck me was how many bikes were outside the venue. Inside there was a mix of familiar faces from WrekinSport along with riders from many of Shropshire’s other cycling clubs. It was certainly a good turnout.
Whilst signing on I was asked to choose which of the three groups I’d like to join. The options was the ‘slow’ 4.5hrs group, the ‘middle’ 4hr group, or the ‘fast’ 3.5hrs group. With the route measuring a shade under 60 miles, I opted for the middle group. The 4 hour target time equated to an average speed of just under 15mph, if anything a little conservative.
From the start the pace was quick, and the guys at the front were really pushing on. I was on my Langster and on the flat sections it was all I could do to keep up. It was clear that my 52/18 was just not a big enough gear to keep up with the faster guys in the group. As I rounded the island just south of Hodnet I checked my Garmin; we’d covered the first 14 miles at a shade under 20mph! It was no wonder that my legs were feeling it a bit!
As we approached Market Drayton, we were caught by the ‘fast’ group. If these racers were pretending not to race all I can say is that they were not doing a very good job of it. They absolutely flew past the small group I was in, a very impressive sight.
As the miles past I got hooked up with a fair sized group and we were soon speeding through Wem and turning back towards Wellington. I was back on familiar roads now, and it was time for one last effort. It was looking like I’d finish well inside of the 4 hour target originally set.
The last climb back up into Wellington from Admaston was despatched and as I pulled up back the the Leisure Centre I stopped my computer. As I glanced down I was genuinely surprised to see the clock stopped at just over 3hours and 17minutes. Not too shabby at all, and a fair bit quicker than I’d anticipated.
Ride details here -
So, another box ticked as far as cycling experiences go, and I’d have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m hoping to give another one a go before the season ends.Vive la Velo!