With a long ride ahead of us the pace was fairly easy as we left Newport and headed north towards Market Drayton and our final destination for the day, Manchester. As I took a glance behind me I was suddenly aware that we (@SJ1020, @Gazdburns & I) had company, and we were now four. Interesting; where did he come from?
I always enjoy these chance encounters with other cyclists, and I have a tendency to put myself in the shoes of the other guy. Three guys up ahead; steady pace; a potential catch to brighten up my Saturday morning ride. Time to up the pace a little, and to see if I can latch on to the group. They’re definitely getting closer, in fact I’m on. Relax; take stock and see what happens.
Back in my own shoes, I’ve learnt that at times like this it pays to sit tight, and let the other guy make the move. This was a road I knew well, and hopefully this knowledge would work in our favour. But then again perhaps our newly found acquaintance was also familiar with the road, and was waiting for an opportunity to pounce.
The crossroads ahead forced us all to an almost standstill, and as we strained to get back on top of our chosen gears for the day, suddenly he was past and spinning off into the distance. A surprising display of confidence; perhaps he was fed up of our sedate pace. With an uphill drag approaching it was no time to chase; we still had over 100kms to go.
Now back up to a steady speed, the gap stabilised at perhaps 30 metres or so. We were moving along nicely, so we upped our effort ever so slightly to keep things honest. With a couple of slightly steeper ramps approaching the next few minutes could seal things. A nervous glance over the shoulder up ahead provided all the encouragement we needed.
A dip in the road followed by a sharp left handed ascent meant we lost sight of our target for a few moments, but as we crested the brow the gap has narrowed markedly. His noticeably raised cadence said it all, he was struggling.
The upcoming canal bridge up ahead presented us with the perfect opportunity to attack. As we closed the gap, the right had flapping frantically at the shifters signalled it was all over. “Mayday, mayday” said @Gazdburns as the gap was bridged, and we exchanged casually deliberate pleasantries as we passed.
Time to commit, we now pushed on and upped the pace. We couldn’t afford to offer a wheel to cling onto at this stage. After a minute or so, a glance over our shoulders confirmed our suspicions. We were now three again, and our earlier acquaintance was nowhere to be seen.
If you pass people on the road, just make sure you can make it stick…..
Vive la Velo