Sunday, 24 November 2013

The #Chaingang

An industrial estate in Shropshire; a late November evening; a diverse group of cyclists meeting in a layby. This can only mean one thing, a chaingang session is about to get  underway.

I’ve been meaning to make it along to one of these for a while now, and on Thursday night I finally popped my chaingang cherry. As I made it towards the start I really wasn’t at all sure what to expect. Would I keep up ? There was only one way to find out.

The main protagonists were known only to me by their Strava or Twitter pseudonyms, but they were a friendly bunch and readily accepted me into their ranks.

The circuit was a pan flat 2.5km loop around the industrial estate, well lit, and a decent, albeit damp, surface.

I set off in the first group whilst a few performed their final pre-ride faffage rituals. The pace was fast, but relatively comfortable. The first couple of laps I spent trying to make mental notes of any drain covers and pot holes on the circuit as the pace gently increased.

With the chaingang up to full strength we settled into a steady, and fast(for me at least) pace. I was however, managing to hang on in there, and even spent some time on the front of the group. I found that the corners were key, and holding speed through them was crucial to keeping a consistent pace. Leg sapping accelerations out of them was best avoided.

I looked down at my Garmin, and in what seemed like no time at all it was showing over 30km had been covered! Even more surprising was the average speed we were maintaining, over 32km/h. And I was still feeling comfortable.
Lap after lap was spent chatting to various members of the ‘gang, and it’s fair to say we were a fairly diverse bunch. From cat 1 road racers, to middle aged life long cyclists, with a Team GB Downhill Mtb rider thrown in for good measure.

After just under two hours I called it a day, said my goodbyes, and headed for home. Over 62 covered! Full details here - 

Whenever I try something new I ask myself two simple questions, 1)Did I enjoy the experience, and 2)Am I intending to do it again. It’s a resounding yes on both accounts.
Vive la Velo


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