Wooler Wheel 4th October 2014. England 2 – Scotland 0
Now, I don’t care what the weather man says
When the weatherman says it’s raining
You’ll never hear me complaining
I know a few cyclists that may disagree with Louis Armstrong on that one.
The day starts early as I receive a text from Ged in Edinburgh to say he has looked out of the window and decided 5 hours of riding in torrential rain does not fill him with joy so he is going back to bed. (As Gary and Andy must have done as they didn’t make it either – none of Louise’s cake for you Gary!!) I look out of the window in Newcastle and not a spot of rain to be seen. I check the Wooler Wheel Facebook page and yes green for go, it has been raining for an hour or so in the borders.
We set off at half six, still no sign of rain. We get almost to Morpeth and it starts to rain – we cross our fingers. We get to within 10 miles of Wooler, it gets heavier – we cross our toes.
When we reach Wooler Event HQ the field for parking is filling up nicely. We drive through and find Karl (Newcastle shop mechanic) who is today’s event support, struggling in the rain with the gazebo. Once set up we have a steady flow of riders needing a little bit of attention. Karl even manages to find a new rear derailleur at the local shop to make sure a rider has not had a wasted journey.
I register with my son Dan and we decide to opt for the 50km route instead of the 100km, as it turns out a popular choice according to the ladies at the sign on desk.
We set off just after 8am and the rain is still falling and we take it steady as we pass various cyclists in a variety of waterproof hi viz clothing. Everyone we pass, and who passes us seems cheerful. What is it with cyclists they revel in misery? We get to the first climb and normal service is resumed, Dan floats ahead of me with little or no effort up the hill and I plod along behind him, suddenly I’m not so cold anymore. I catch him at the top and even in the gloom the view is amazing. I get my own back on the downhill – sometimes gravity is my friend.
We continue along the route and we ride through flooded roads and huge puddles. We take the next long climb and at the top are rewarded with Jelly Babies, a welcome bonus that puts a smile on our faces. The next few miles tick over down hill all the way as the Jelly Baby lady said and we see the finish in the distance and our speed quickens just a little.
50km in just over 2 and a half hours in challenging conditions. I now see why so many people say road bikes should have disc brakes when riding in these sorts of conditions.
Even though the weather was not that nice both Dan and I had a great ride. A big thank you needs to go to Mike and Beth for the excellent organisation and the fact they actually went round the route to ensure it was safe before the first rider went out and all of the marshals, those at sign in who mentioned where roads were flooded and those wet and cold souls who were out on the course. Dan was so tired he fell asleep in the car on the way home.
The next ride is on the 16th of May 2015 and I will be there either riding or providing event support. I hope for better weather.
Gareth (Newcastle shop)