By Em Hazeldine
Sun, sea, summer, good company, good riding and good fun!
Well…all the best decisions are reached over a good pint!! Picture the scene…warm summer evening, pint and a half into some rather good, still, Cornish cider, sitting on the lovely Barbican, in great company and the world is a happy place. PQ mentions getting people on board to lead rides and it seems like a cunning plan emerges for Alli (now in her drinking dotage having retired from the elite race world) and myself to lead Saturday’s YOGi steady ride…genius!! And why not? We have both been YOGi for a while and have been content to be led round by all the usual suspects who take rides out again and again so about time we did some contributing ourselves.
We had a perfect route in mind. Back in the days of actually training (!) Alli used to haul my lazy backside out on some fantastic zone 2, (steady) training rides on a Saturday morning. Our old rules were that we needed to put in our zone 2 riding for 3 hours before stopping was allowed for the social bit so we would work up front before stopping…made it ideal for YOGi Saturday ride. As it was always sticking to our steady paced heart rate, we also knew the timings pretty much to the minute. So there we were, pint in hand, saying “sign us up for it PQ”!
This was a first for us leading the YOGi ride and we were keen to do it well. We know how important it is to make sure that everyone on a group ride has a good one. We knew the route was lovely (this is a real soul ride) and the weather was set to be sunny and warm so the gods were smiling on us and the rest was up to us. From experience we know that sitting in our endurance heart rate means that you can ride forever and means that people of different abilities can all ride together so we made the decision between us to don our heart rate monitors and ride to that and do our bestest to keep that ethos within the group…”tough challenge” I hear you think? Well not with Miss Holland giving the orders!! (You can take the girl out of the PE teacher job but you definitely can’t remove all signs of it!)
Saturday morning warm already at 9am and mist clearing; was looking like it was going to be a lovely day. Before we headed off Alli gave a few words about what our intentions were; that is that we were going to sit at our zone 2 heart rate (so that effort is consistent and everyone rides comfortably) and that we would be riding formation, 2 x 2, in a line and rotating on the front; challenging but worth the effort as it makes it easier for cars to negotiate cyclists and has the additional benefit of allowing people to chat to lots of other group members. It is traditional club riding and has the undeniable benefit of encouraging ridiculous banter!! I mean what ride wouldn’t be complete without an extended lecture on the various failings of different lawnmower fuelling systems?! Chris S was on top form and I thank him for I am now so much better informed about so many things…particularly lawnmowers.
Well YOGis were on top form. Formation worked really quite well for what was the majority of the ride. A lot of the South Hams lanes are narrow and blind so our disciplined grouping stood us in excellent stead in the face of oncoming traffic and was easily managed as the line of riders easily merged from pairs to single line and slipped comfortably down the side of the cars. The steady-eddy pace meant that in the warm summer humidity we all comfortably rolled into the café stop at Bigbury which occurred three-quarters of the way into the ride. Our resident fish (Jez and Robbie) went off for a sea swim whilst the rest of us sunned ourselves happily in the perfect summer weather and chatted happily until it was time we really should be going! There is something really smug about setting off after a café stop knowing you have most of your miles in the bag and not much more than an hour to roll back home.
It is hard to dispute the power of a lovely summer’s day and combined with the idyllic setting of the excellent rolling roads skirted by the abundant hedgerows of the South Hams and special moments like riding the tidal road at Aveton Gifford with the sun shimmering off the water plus the hilarity of YOGi conversational nonsense and the good company of others; this made Saturday’s ride truly food for the soul.
I would like to say a big shout out to all the YOGis who were with us this Saturday who treated our request to sit in with us and ride formation with total respect and consequently made the whole day sociable, leisurely, pleasurable and huge YOGi fun. An awesome way to spend a Saturday.