Sunday, 16 October 2011

Polocini - Winter Sprinter 2

Garmin Stats     Distance 60miles     Av Sp 20.7mph     Ascent 2800ft ( garmin wrong) Hr 157     Cad 80

                   The weather forecast was supposed to be decent for this ride on Sunday. However the sun took a lot longer to materialise and the rain clouds had spread all across the North West instead of being localised. That happens everytime I plan on using 'Scottie' and her funky wheels. I took her out anyway with the prospect of knowing I would have to spend ages cleaning her afterwards and I didn't want to back out as my weeks training was planned with this ride as a part of it.

'Entry on the line' (Where have I heard that before?) Yet again I hadn't pre-booked my place and but when I strutted up to the desk waving £10 notes furiously infront of the organisers faces I was turned away, saying they had no provision for 'EOL' and not enough food to go around but I was welcome to join everyone anyway but I wouldn't be insured. I have my own insurance. Hmmmm maybe because of everything on offer they only 'catered' for a certain number. They did say I could wait until everyone had set off and see how many hadn't turned up.  Not a problem as they didn't have any official timing systems in place so I just readied my bike and joined the rear of the the pack awaiting 9am off time. Before that though I was approached by Chris Byrne, although I recognise the name the face eluded me. I'm sure I saw his name on another sportive recently. Had a nice chat which relaxed my mood as I wasn't very happy that I wasn't officially in and made me setting up my bike a pleasure.  So after triple checking that I hadn't forget anything (there's always somethin!) I set off near the back of the pack.

           There's a voice at the side of me that's at every event I do that says get to the front....NOW and I duly oblige, to the best of my abilities. I seemed to hit the front in no time using my new grinding away training method and this time my heart was out to play hitting 170 in a couple of minutes. I sat at the back, observing the other riders, making sure there were no numpties and to see how much work each was doing if any. That's when I thought I'd try my luck and lead for a bit. There was an old guy in full Cofidis get up and we exchanged places now and again whilst the others sat in. Eventually I ended up taking huge turns on the front,  until about 35miles in when I took a breather for the hills. In our little group we had 3 bio-racer riders, the cofidis guy, some foreign sounding guy who looked an absolute monster on the bike a la Fabian and the obligatory doctor in full sky uniform with matching bike. There were a few more initially but were dwindled down. It was a fantastic group, very safe, everyone knew what to do and when, willing to help each other out.
Bit of a contrast to the West Yorkshire based club I rode with on Sunday.

The hills started to come thick and fast but I kept wondering where the cobbles and steepness of swiss hill were. I found out later due to the rain and the exceptional conditions we were diverted a long way round but with just as much ascent. That's why my Garmin was going mental at me even though we were following the signs. When a hill appeared longer than 20m I turned up the heat and was at a very hard but comfortable pace, really I wasn't expecting to be anyone behind me but a ginormous shadow emerged from the rear just to say he was still there. Still I was leading and we had a little chat. Turns out he's big into triathlons and came 15th in the Liverpool Olympic distance age groupers out of 600 I think and had the 5th fastest bike. Roberto ( told you he sounded foreign) said he used the Sportive as a training ride, I said I hadn't officially entered so would lead him out to glory. Turns out this guy was in Big Brother 5 or 6 ( I love the new series) heh funny. Carrying on, the hills kinda disappeared as quickly as they came with not much trouble although I did drop Rob a couple of times and waited a little while for him to join me. My heart rate was hovering around the 165 ish mark, I was killing myself for this guy, pretending to be his loyal domestique/rouleur and for what? The best training ride I've had for a while.  The only problem near the end was traffic and lights slowing us down. I gave him the last mile to the finish then he crossed the line , first of the longer distance riders. We were both covered in road grime and were shocked to see how dirty the bikes were. That's gonna take a few hours I thought to myself :(

The organisers were awaiting our arrival with CNP recovery shakes and other bits and bobs. I was asked for my number then I reminded him that I hadn't entered. He offered me a shake and 'a place at his table'  which I initially rejected as I felt awkward taking the freebies. He then said it was ok as there were a few that didn't turn up. I downed the strawberry shake in one. It was gorgeous! Recently I have purchased CNP stuff, gels flapjacks and the hydration drink and all have been beyond my expectations taste wise. The cola gels I could eat as snacks and even my missus loves the marzipan-esque flapjack.

Since I turned up at the Woodford community Centre I was made to feel welcome every step of the way, a credit to the way the Sportive was run and all the staff behind it. My initial reaction was a knee-jerk one, me being the jerk as the website clearly stated no entry on the line. I put the organiser and myself in a difficult position for which I apologise.  The food on offer smelt gorgeous, lancs hot pot and pie and peas were the faves which I left for the other riders. Just a coffee for me, unfortunately not ground. There was a free massage being touted too. I had a great day and a worthwhile training session to boot with a big fat KFC being the icing on the cake.

Another great shot from Rick at


  1. Thought you were a bit phased ;-)

    I joined you, Anna, Joby and a few others in a ride From the Velodrome to Tatton, a long long time ago...

  2. Hi Crimney, I'm Allen (the organiser) we don't do eol as we buy the food/drink/cnp nutrition in advance and print maps and personalised number boards. Hence our low price of £20.
    It's unfortunate that you were not happy but we have never advertised any event with entry on the line. In fact it's the complete opposite as we actively discourage it.

  3. Cheers for the comment on BR forum. It's really appreciated.