“So, what actually happened?”, I hear you ask.

Well, gather round and I shall tell you of the saga that was the Cycling Knight’s training ride to Southwold…

Even though it was throwing it down when I left home, the day still started really well, with Nigel serving us all up some bacon baps for breakfast.

When we’d finished eating the rain had stopped and it looked like we were in for a really good winter ride. Some days are like that, you set off not expecting much but once you get into it, it’s really good fun just being out.

Following the GPS route I’d sent out took us through some nice quiet lanes away from all the traffic. Suffolk is full of roads like these.

The problems only started as the next lot of rain arrived. We noticed the roads getting muddier and muddier. We rolled through a few deep puddles without any problems until I suddenly noticed that disappointing bumpy feeling from the back wheel. It could only mean one thing; a visit from the puncture fairy!

No problem, it happens occasionally. Tyre off, new tube in, inflate with CO2 and go. No fuss.

Little did we know that was just the start…

Puncture Hall of Fame

I’ll skip the messy details and just leave you with the day’s cold, hard stats…

  • Total punctures 14:-
    • Baggy: 5.
    • Sean: 4.
    • Steve: 4.
    • Dave: 1.

“This ride has left me flat…“

Mike

“Felt a bit deflated after Monday….”

Baggy

Racing Incidents

In professional bike racing crashes are so common that the pros refer to them in passing as “racing incidents”.

We had four (small) “incidents” in total. All low speed. No one hurt and nothing damaged. Luckily for all involved we have no photographic evidence.

The life Aquatic

“This has brought it all flooding back…“

Dave C

The weather throughout the day was pretty soggy.

Of particular note was the properly flooded lane we went through before lunch. The water was deep enough that our feet were underwater at least part way through each pedal stroke. We could feel the bikes sliding in the mud covering what was left of the road.

Fitz managed to get a photo, now shown as at the top of this page.

Happily you don’t really notice wet feet when it’s raining.

The Best Chips

Our group split with 4 heading into Southwold and 3 staying back to fix another puncture on Baggy’s bike. By this point we’d run out of fresh inner tubes and had to resort to actually repairing the punctures. Actually this worked pretty well considering I’ve had the patches sitting in my bike bag unused for a couple of years. I must remember to get some more of those.

By the time we got back on the road and into Southwold there was a bag of chips and a battered sausage waiting for each of us. I have to say they were the best chips I’ve had in years! :)

The Rush Home

By now the mechanicals had slowed us down somewhat. We headed for home on faster, better roads, making steady progress and we were blessedly puncture free!

…until a hissing noise told us that Baggy had caught his fifth puncture of the day.

With time and day light running out we opted to send four riders on to get the cars and leave the others to mend the puncture and find somewhere warm to wait out the rain.

Again, some good luck, that warm place to wait turned out to be Saxmundham train station, with train just leaving for Ipswich!

Mean while the “rescue” party hammered it through the rain to reach home.

I may be painting an unfairly bleak picture with regard to the weather. We didn’t have rain for the entire ride home. Nope, it started hailing when we reached Woodbridge, which made a “nice” change.

By the time we got home we’d done about 88 miles (although the GPS had run out of power by that point so I can’t be sure).

Definitely type 2 fun but with the distance of a couple of days and a hot shower, I’m up for doing it again!

(…might need to buy some more inner tubes first though…)