Group Therapy

All three groups together

All three groups together

Our club organised their first Reliability Ride for August from Dumfries across to Bridge of Dee, Loch Ken then Corsock. It was a bit later than the traditional time in Spring but enjoyable nonetheless and different from our usual club runs.

We divided into 3 groups – 15, 17 and 19mph average over 55 miles. It’s definitely different riding in a group to a set time. Unlike club runs you suddenly become aware of a collective goal driving the pedals around which everyone in your group is responsible for – MAKING YOUR TIME!

Group One looking rather pleased with themselves!

Group One looking rather pleased with themselves!

I rode in the 19 group and I never felt we were on top of our average speed…it seemed to constantly elude us. It certainly made for an interesting ride and I found us talking more tactics than we ever would on a normal Saturday. We tried through and off, someone at the front riding tempo and, for the final section, two guys at the front drilling it. We certainly sounded like the crossest cycling group in Scotland at times with some choice expletives especially along the Loch Ken section.

anxiety eased - we made our time

anxiety eased – we made our time

Unbeknownst to us at the time, our anxiety was nothing compared to the 17 group who suffered 4 or 5 flats. This would be enough to have you heaving your bike over a dyke but it didn’t puncture their resolve or their motivation and they arrived with 17.7 on their garmins…chapeau. They had the biggest group which can bring its own problems.

f*** another puncture!

f*** another flat!

Cool as cucumbers were the 15 group who we passed on the Loch Ken. They seemed to be gliding along unworried and well organised.

We finished the official part of the ride at Pringles Pub in Corsock – great grub and I discovered people more fond of cake than myself. I enjoyed the day and the way that your own efforts are part of a bigger purpose.

Crossing The Winter

Today at mile 93 of our Club’s 3rd long run I drowned in a dark, lactic ocean. The winter is upon us and the road to full fitness will be long and lonely.

After a tanking cafe stop at the Clachan Inn, Dalry – 17.11.12

As I have said in previous posts, the Winter is not the end of cycling. The cycling continues but these cold, wet months are about training to maintain fitness, to rest a little and to prepare for next year. Also they are about weight. You might put on a few pounds or  take the opportunity to lose a kilo or two. Non cyclists are usually surprised when you say that the winter is a good time to lose weight.

Hunger but in a good way…and of course the caffeine!

Filling our boots before the slog over to Corriedoo

The common view is that weight can be lost in the summer when you’re more actively outdoors. But if you’re a cyclist trying to lose weight in the summer, you’re probably behind the rest of the riders in the club. The winter gives you control and a plan and a regime as does early spring. The summer is too busy a time for that kind of focus.

However the focus comes at a price since even with the social side of long club runs, your winter regime is essentially a lonely pursuit. The challenges are only for you and are only set by you. You can’t lie to yourself. Everything must be true and accurate.

our winter bikes – a means to an end…but what end?

On today’s long run which took us along the Solway coast, followed by the spectacular Loch Ken then over to St John’s of Dalry, I spoke to a few guys about their winter. Everyone does it differently but whatever they’re doing, they’re doing it solo. My personal preference is to cross train. This means running, turbo, club run and core. Like all my club mates I have a plan for the winter. I don’t share my targets with them. Why would I? Why would they? But isn’t it amazing how we pursue those targets religiously? There isn’t a cyclist who lies about their winter regime. Well…why lie to yourself?

Many years ago my old cycling mucker Ian handed me a tattered thick booklet. It was called ‘The Blue Book‘ by Peter Read. Here’s what a fellow cycling blogger said about it-

‘When I started turbo training I bought Peter Read’s “The Blue Book”. Peter is well known in cycling circles as a guru of turbo training and his books have been used for many years to good effect. I have only read The Blue Book and can vouch for the effectiveness of the sessions. As well as helping you plan your sessions there are specific sessions to help overcome your weanesses, be it top end speed, power, endurance, etc etc.’

He goes on to add some pretty good advice about the book, saying…

‘…keep the steady rides for the road and use the turbo for interval training, easy recovery sessions or for when the weather is really bad. For interval training, the turbo becomes a different beast, an instrument of torture known in some cycling circles as “The Rack”, but it is fabulously effective as such and if you have the means of measuring power output then you can accurately repeat sessions and measure progress. Boring? Never, especially when the figures tell you you are improving…’

Ian always impressed on me the positive aspects of turboing which has meant I still enjoy it. Lots of guys don’t (yet they still do as much as me). When you’re on your turbo it’s sad but true, even though it is a chariot of pain, it is without doubt, the bike of truth. Those intervals are measured to the exact second as are the pyramids. Cutting corners or poor efforts on the turbo do you no good.

sharing a joke with my cycling buddy Ian Harkness, the man who introduced me to the systematic torture of the body a.k.a the turbo!

Yet the turbo also means loneliness. Perhaps this is why a lot of guys buy themselves ipods or imagic turbos; there’s some company in music or a little animated cyclist smashing you on a simulation of the Galibier! I stopped using my ipod recently. My only company is the whirr of the back wheel and the digital clock crushing me relentlessly. The garage is a lonely place, killing yourself between the lawnmower and some old tiles. But it is also a place of self-determination and ambitions.

As I said at the top of this post, lactic got me today but as the boys pulled away, something made me keep on turning those pedals even though getting back on the group was futile. I’m not sure what it was: trying to reach towards something or was it keeping something at bay, the body’s pain? Irrespective of what it was, there’s no crisis, no plan changing. The lonely crossing of the winter will continue and who knows, next time I may well pull clear of the lactic kill zone!

What Would Buddha Say?

We started our longer runs for the Autumn and Winter with club favourite – Samye Ling in Eskdalemuir. A great ride in which I inadvertently clocked up another Centurion.

Re-fuelled with cake and coffee beneath the Victory Stupa

Just because the summer has ended (much like it began with torrential showers) doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your bike. As always with a cycle run over to Eskdalemuir, the scenery and company make for a great day.

Including some early extra miles and the club run itself, I spent six hours on my bike. I’d say whole heartedly that was six hours of pure unbroken, enjoyment. You can’t say that about every sporting activity…or about many activities for that matter.

My cycling buddy, John Andrew and I decided to go for a spin in the early morning round Caerlaverock and Bankend. Initially this seemed a little mad as it was pretty cold. However the winds were very light and this meant areas of pure white mist shrouded the Nith as it opened out into the Solway. This with the soundtrack of wintering birds above us made the early rise seem worth it.

Early light with mist across the low road at Bankend

As I said earlier the Samye Ling run is a popular long run for our club and as I expected there was a great turn out for the start. The sun was beginning to warm us but was still low in the sky which made riding in a bunch of 30 quite tricky at times.

meeting point for the run to where east meets west

Blinking in the sun we hit the hills just outside Lockerbie and myself and a fellow cyclist managed to get ourselves detached from the group (always ask the patron of the peleton for permission to pee). Re-grouping is essential on longer runs and no one is trying to rip anyone’s legs off.

It was not far from here where we hit a minor directional hitch, namely getting from the Langholm road onto the roads for Eskdalemuir. To cut a long story short, it involved a small place called Corrie. We ended up on the long, undulating but nonetheless spectacular road into Langholm. Someone joked that had we taken any further detours we might end up in the actual Corrie, the fictional one in Weatherfield, Manchester!

Following the road from Langholm to Eskdalemuir brought back some great memories of the excellent Ken Laidlaw Sportive which travels through that area. Our detour quickly became irrelevant amongst the hills and rivers which surround you as you cycle and chat.

With a mile or so to the Samye Ling centre I tried a cheeky jump on the group claiming I wanted my soup first. I was quickly chased down – never kid a cyclist about his soup and cake.

As I’ve said in a previous blog, Samye Ling is a fascinating incongruity. It’s brightly painted stupas, cloutie tree and flags sit bravely in the Scottish countryside. It all seems to work together somehow.

Gary and Brian – taking a break with a coffee

Back on the road we swept down through Boreland and then onwards towards Lockerbie. After the lumpy hills around Banks Hill, getting the chance to spin your legs freely for 10 miles was a great feeling.

Murray (centre) looking a little like a Mafia Cycling Don with the shades

By the time we reached Millhousebridge a couple of guys had cramped up a little but being close to home on roads you know well, lifts the morale and we managed to keep a steady pace in the sunshine as we rolled through Templand.

Birthday boy Gordon, his wife Gill and my old cycling mucker, Ian Harkness – great to see him back into the long miles and at the centre of the micky taking!

It always amazes me with club cyclists how after 80 – 90 miles in their legs they’re still game for a 30. There were several of these as we neared Dumfries, so we finished the ride with some leading out and sprinting shenanigans.

Alison and Jim with Mikey (big miles) in the background

Sprinting into Locharbriggs on the outskirts of Dumfries meant the day was drawing to a close. The detour meant I’d completed 104 miles. I wasn’t complaining. It won’t be long till winter (will it be snow or storms this year?) so I would easily have cycled another six hours that day for the pleasure it brought.

My early morning buddy, John A. with Andrew beside him thinking about more caffeine perhaps?

Our Revels Now are Ended

This last week or so after a run I’ve found my gaze being drawn towards my Winter bike. Since our sport more than most is closely linked to the seasons, all club cyclists know what’s coming soon!

End of Dumfries CC club run 1.9.2012 – time for the winter bikes soon

The worst month in cycling? For me it’s September.  It’s the month of transition with the end of mid-week runs, the drop in temperature and the yellowing leaves scattered along the club routes. The chasing each other down for 30s seems old and pointless and that feeling I have in the chain gang of going through the motions – all this belongs to September. At the same time I start to think about Winter and the training that’s to come. All cyclists know the importance of having a ‘good winter’ when your turbo becomes torturer and tutor. But to get into winter you’ve got to get through September…the dead month.

It’s been a great summer for me and one which I didn’t think I would have. In July last year I climbed on my bike for the first time since my accident. This was earlier than the Doctor had said (he’d said Christmas initially). So to get fit (well about 95% fit) and have a full spring and summer this year has been fantastic. I’ve cycled in France, completed a couple of centurion rides and enjoyed some great mid-week runs and club rides. Also one of the pleasures of cycling I’ve thoroughly enjoyed is deciding to just jump on the bike for an hour or two.

Barley Grass field on the Bankend Road…how I measure my cycling year.

Cyclists are attuned to the seasons with each one bringing a different kind of cycling. From spring I watched the barley grass emerge in little shoots then in high summer become golden fields shifting in endless tides. Spring and summer are the times for really hard cycle runs. Then out for a spin you catch sight of the combine harvesters sitting in the corner of a field. The ducks and geese who spend their winter around Caerlaverock begin arriving. I’m spending more time on ebay looking for new guards and winter tyres (might go for continental gator hardshells this year).

One thing which has captured my interest towards the end of summer has been Strava. A number of cyclists in our club have Garmins. I use the strava app on my phone and have started riding against myself on my own routes. It has definitely got me very interested in time trialling, a discipline of cycling I’ve never really taken to.  Using the strava app and trying to shave time of your previous best has brought the skill of time trialling into focus – getting into a rhythm, taking bends and corners, pushing yourself all the time. I can see myself entering the club’s TTs next season. I’ve got a new respect for the boys in our club who TT every Wednesday although I’ll probably not stretch to buying a pointy helmet.

Our revels now are ended….melted into air…

But that’s for next year. In the meantime September is upon us. Time to gradually adjust – look out the 3/4 lengths and then the longs. And on the club runs the summer bikes will disappear in ones and twos. Winter runs are great fun and are much more social than the summer rides. It’s funny how the guys you spend the winter riding with laughing and chatting, are the same guys that will be trying to smash you on a climb in the next spring!

Turbo my old friend, my great adversary…I’ll be there soon.

Cycling and Recycling

Sportives have lost a little of their allure for me but the 102 mile Galloway Recycle event certainly helped restore some of my enthusiasm.

Firstly I liked the title of this sportive – not so much the play on words but the fact that it reflected a clear focus, the use of re-cylced bikes for youngsters through the KilliCanCycle charity. We cyclists sometimes just think about the route for 100 miles or the weather but many sportives do a lot of good work for charities and the ambition of the Galloway Recycle organisers deserves credit. It was also a plus for the organisers with their speedy feedback on timings for riders. The use of transponders was pretty cool.

Living in Dumfries I knew the various parts of the route but had never ridden it as a complete route. Thinking about it in advance I calculated the lumpy ascent towards Gatehouse from Creetown would be a low point for the morale – I wasn’t disappointed. However I was looking forward to the Clatteringshaws section of the route…more of this later.

I intended taking my Tommasini for a bit class and comfort. I’d told some of the boys I’d be riding with a cravat and smoking a pipe. Unfortunately I’d spent the week trying to index my upper class Italian machine only to realise too late that it needed some new cabling. I took the carbon Felt instead which was untested for comfort over 100 miles. Either I’d be fine or spend half the ride with a fossilised back-side and numbed fingers.

One thing I really look forward to on Audaxes and Sportives is seeing the vast array of bikes on show. I would have to say that this has become less exciting in recent years. At the start point in Kirkcudbright there was a vast amount of colourful machines but I was struck by how similar bikes are now looking (my Felt included). Has the road bike market narrowed so much that we ride with much the same spec…the same finishing touches? What about some cool forks? Some striking lugs? To people out there who are new to cycling – don’t go looking for a Sportive bike because they don’t really exist! A good bike will do everything you want of it including sportives.

On the road I spotted one bike of note, an old de rosa, sparkling blue in the summer heat. The rider had a huge hole in his shorts and a pair of trainers on with SPDs. He was a strong cyclist without a doubt but please respect that de rosa with decent kit!

Sportives mean riding with different cyclists. This isn’t too daunting as road cyclists are of much the same mind and the conversation follows the usual topics; bikes, route, weather. On the Recycle Sportive I did hear two new phrases unknown to me. One cyclist in our group referring to the run along the Queen’s Way said ‘That was a chew-on.’ I nodded in agreement but what was I agreeing to? I don’t have a clue. Was it a re-working of chewing the handlebars? I heard another say  ‘I just about lost ma tattie…’ Eh? Come again?

One downside of riding with different cyclists is that in larger groups things can get a little nervy. A couple of our boys had a little spill on the Gelston section of the route – nothing serious – but no doubt it was the slightly different conditions of riding in an unfamiliar group which had an impact. I saw the same thing happen back in 2006 during the Cumberland Challenge and again this was early. Nerves like these are something we might share with pro riders in Big Tours where there are a lot of crashes in the opening days. I think it’s a good idea to take things a little bit easier for the first half of the route and get myself acclimatised.

What about the route itself? Well whoever planned this route had one eye on its challenges and the other on the natural beauty of the area – a stimulating combination. Also the weather was incredible – sunny and warm for the whole day (freakishly unusual for this summer). Everything looked glorious in the sunshine. Yet nothing looked more glorious nor more spectacular than the fast ride from Clatteringshaws Loch along The Queen’s Way to Creetown. I think at one point I forgot all about the road as I craned my neck left and right in pure wonderment. All those dismal winter runs, the turbo sessions in my freezing garage, the hill repeats…all of it was worth it to ride my bike through such majesty.

Add to this the rolling climb over to Laurieston and the moment you rejoin the coast road for Kirkcudbright and you’ve got a feast for the eyes and great work-out for the legs.

Sportives are collective events but really they are also individual challenges. No matter the route my hard section is always between mile 55 and mile 75. It is the time of doom for me. My morale is usually in my cycling shoes till I get to mile 76 and then the legs get a new shot of energy. By a cruel twist of fate my time of doom came just as we turned into a nagging headwind at Creetown and started to push our way up towards the feed station near Gatehouse.

Luckily I was in good company with Gordon and John from Dumfries CC and another strong rider. Following the road biker’s code we shared the work and got to the feed station. I noticed on this sportive how supportive the volunteers were and how well stocked the tables were with cyclist essentials: water, bananas, flapjacks and some words of friendly encouragement. At Gatehouse the marshals assured us we had several miles of downhill which definitely made my roll go down easier. They also supplied tunnocks tea cakes which I would’ve devoured had it not been for the possibility of them melting in my pockets. A tea cake at a feed station? I would never have guessed on that option.

We climbed up over Laurieston Moor in the baking heat. The abundant scenery made the lactic seem secondary. At this stage we were joined by another group and the nervy feel came to me on the descent and I lost contact before Castle Douglas. Getting isolated on a sportive is not too clever but until I start working on my descending it’s always going to happen.

However I knew I was fit and motivated enough to ride the last 25 miles at a decent tempo. I kept an eye on my average speed as a way of maintaining my momentum and rode steadily towards the tranquil seas at Auchencairn. I was glad the organisers had placed a feed station 10-12 miles before the end. I was desperate for some hydration and I was beginning to experience that hollow signal in my stomach (the signal = the knock is coming). One of the volunteers asked me if I needed anything. I summoned all my eloquence and shouted ‘WATER! FLAPJACK!’ That man saved me from slipping into deficit.

Flapjack! Suck yer puddings in!

My mouth crammed with flapjack, I hit the climb which begins in Auchencairn and climbs up towards Dundrennan. A photographer had positioned himself on one of the bends. Damn! 90 miles of biking, try sucking in your stomach with a mouth full of biscuit so you don’t look hellish in a photo! By good fortune we caught some tail wind which eased the struggle for the last 15k.

Near Dundrennan I saw one of my original group from Creetown up ahead. Just as I had nearly bridged the gap he caught a suped-up tractor and drafted it away from me. Chapeau to a rider who can jump onto a tractor draft after 95 miles.

The ride into the finish was uplifting. Tired legs and stiff upper body immediately gave way to the warmth of the crowd and the MC welcoming you back to Kirkcudbright. And of course your cycling buddies who finished before you give you a wave of encouragement. Long after the stiff legs and the gripping of the bars I’ll remember the Recycle sportive for its great organisation, friendly atmosphere and immense, endless scenery.

Cycling photographs provided by Novantae Photography ( I recommend this young man’s photography site for tremendous images of cycling across a range of events and some eye watering scenery).

!Code Red!

Ralph Nader‘s famous 1965 book Unsafe At Any Speed described the dangers of the car and changed motoring safety for the better but half a century on, two wheels must still be wary of four wheels.

This Monday I cycled myself for 40 miles (testing a new campag chain but the finicky technology is for another blog). On tight narrow roads, I would pull in to let oncoming cars pass. Coming down into Crocketford, a driver did the same for me. We waved at each other in acknowledgement. On Tuesday five of us cycled over to the Glenkens. Descending down towards Carsphairn a lorry driver nearly wiped us all out on a tight bend with a look of utter indifference on his face.

And this is the daily dilemna for cyclists; is it going to be understanding and patience or complete contempt from motorists?

Here are some of my personal driving nightmares for cyclists.

  • the motorist on their mobile (funnily enough this is most popular both with country toffs in Land Cruisers and their distant cousins, the shell suited Vauxhall Nova chav/chavettes)
  • the oncoming motorist who makes no attempt to check their speed on country roads (occasionally some of them speed up when they see you – perhaps they think they’re playing Call of Duty)
  • the car which passes you with mere millimetres to spare – if their passenger window was down you could probably lean over and change the CD.
  • the horn blaring, window down, mouthful of abuse, car driver (although to be fair the verbals are usually delivered by his pot bellied passenger chomping on a burger)
  • the driver who manages to combine all of the above.

During the summer months these drivers are usually dotted everywhere but for cyclists in the south-west of Scotland they mainly seem to concentrate themselves on the coast road where their patience is lowest and horn blowing highest by the end of July. (there should be a Springwatchprogramme about them)

‘mum I’ll be home for tea soon’

The advice from the police is to ride two abreast when in a group. For groups of riders this is  sensible. Drivers sometimes shout for single file yet this can increase a line of cyclists making passing more difficult. However cyclists are very good in my experience at letting cars get by them as they don’t like cars sitting behind them for long periods of time.

As I’ve said in a previous blog, we are certainly not blameless when it comes to road use. Yet it’s true to say that cyclists are very sensitive when it comes to road safety. This can be seen in the constant passing up and down the line of info about road conditions and traffic etc. Also our club has an etiquette section which is observed more than breached. Despite this several of our club members have been hit by cars and all they were doing was riding their bikes on a public road..

This is not meant to be a po-faced blog suggesting all motorists are the anti-christ. In fact some of the heat between two wheels and four wheels can be pretty entertaining with hindsight.

a car free zone – the Beef Tub

I remember we were coming back from Samye Ling and some boys spotted a tractor up ahead. They started tail-gating and looked quite pleased with themselves until the farmer realised what they were doing. He gave them quite a row. Not swearing – more like a chiding for school children. The boys re-joined us as if they were going to be grounded that night.

On another occasion two of us were returning into town when we were loudly harassed by a very irate female driver, peeping her horn etc. We started to laugh when she passed us when we spotted the license plate, the first three letters of which read PMT.

It still brings a smile to my face when I remember three of us descending Dunscore hill and a young chav of the type mentioned above, cut us up. My fellow cyclist shouted at the car

‘Hey come back here…I want to speak to you.’ 

He then cycled after the car. Some guys in our club can hit 60ks plus, descending Dunscore hill but that would’ve been quite something had he caught the car, as would the possibility of the Nova driver having highly sensitive hearing skills.

Cyclists have developed three universal signals for silly driving.

  1. The Ironic Wave (combined with an ironic grin) – for getting peeped at or some form of incoherent verbals.
  2. The quickly raised right arm with palm upward (reminiscent of Italian gesturing) – ‘did you seriously have to pass us that closely?’
  3. The slow yoyo hand movement – SLOW DOWN!

These lighter moments are infrequent. As has been said before, when there’s a dispute between a car and a bike, regardless of right or wrong, it’s the cyclist who will suffer.

In my experience the relationship between driver and cyclist has remained almost like an uneasy truce. I do feel that there is a sometimes a lack of understanding on the part of the motorist. With a little more patience, you will be able to pass us safely. Similarly it doesn’t take much to touch the brakes when you see a group of cyclists coming towards you on a narrow road. And if you’re going to shout at us keep in mind that we’re quite often riding in a deafening headwind!

At the moment there is only one Highway Code which should cover all aspects of road use. Perhaps we should add a new Code specifically for drivers and cyclists or an entente cordiale. With the drive by successive governments to encourage more people from their cars onto bikes, it’s time for constructive dialogue.

Who knows if things don’t improve, we might even see a Critical Mass event in South West Scotland.

The Mid-Weekers

People tell me I should get out more – thank god then for the mid week run…

During the winter, club cyclists have only limited access to their bikes. It’s the weekend mainly although some of the guys cycle back and forth to work or do a spot of night riding (with the right sort of lights of course) to get the miles in. I’ve only cycled at night once and I loved it. The audax boys have told me of their exploits about cycling through the night and seeing the sun coming up. I would really like to do that some time in the future – all day cycling. Mostly during the winter though it’s turbo time with some cross-training.

But once the clocks change at last and you’re driving up fitness levels there’s lots more time on your road bike with the ‘mid-weeker.’ Everyone enjoys these runs even those cyclists who are in the middle of the TT league or racing season. This year thanks to our Club’s route planner, Dumfries Cycling Club have had a great spring and summer of mid-week runs which is amazing given the poor weather. They’ve all been well attended usually in warm sunshine with upwards of 16 riders out for an evening of 30 – 40 miles.

Why are these runs proving so popular with club cyclists? Perhaps because the mid-weeker has everything after a pent-up day of work; a lot of joking, some chat about the weekend’s cycling or progress in TTs, some hard hills and a good work-out in the chain-gang. And after a stormy wet winter we can at last escape the turbo of torture in the garage and the blast of the ipod in your ears and get out and enjoy cycling.

Of course there’s also the amazing scenery in the south-west of Scotland which is a perfect backdrop to the whole night. Riding through this great landscape I sometimes think of Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner and that famous scene when he says to Harrison Ford...’I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the darkness at Tannhauser Gate‘. If I had the chance I would probably interrupt him and say ‘Yeah whatever Rutger, I’ve seen Criffel wrapped in the golden tinsel of a sunset and heard wild birdsong echo through the hills at Speddoch.’

Shut yer pie-hole Rutger, I’ve dazzled up Clone Hill

During a mid-weeker, no matter what their level of fitness, everyone has a go for the 30s and I mean everyone! If you get a pasting at a 30 you’re going to hear about it for the next 10ks or until another 30 sign looms up. It gets so competitive that one of our members ‘won’ a 30 using what can only be described as the bus lead out method. It’s not a technique you’ll see in a Cavendish/Griepel sprint. We all went into single file to let an oncoming bus through. The rider in question was at the front and took full advantage of the bus hemming us in to ‘win’ his 30. The debate about this ‘strategy’ lasted quite a while (all in good humour).

Although the mid-weeker lacks the sometimes serious miles of the main Saturday club run or speed training, it’s definitely a good training night without pressure. When the summer arrives and everyone is fit, the bunch moves along at pace. It’s great to feel your legs spin freely and hear the unique whir of hubs and cogs.

But there have also been several occasions when the heat has been turned up during a mid-weeker. One evening I went out a bit earlier as it was a lovely evening of warm sunshine and met up with the club later. It turned into quite a night. I was on my Tommasini with a 50 on the front and I was running out of gears at one point trying to keep up.

One thing to be careful about is when to eat for a mid-week run. No time for dinner as everyone is usually out by 5.30. So you’ll need to grab something earlier but lunch is too early. Of course by the time you get in you could probably empty the biscuit barrel before you’ve even showered. If you’re on a regime then eating after a mid-weeker means you’re going to struggle to avoid a wee treat.

Right where’s that 30 sign?

Even if you love your job as I do, mid week at your work can be a drag. So if you’re a club cyclist you’ll probably be watching the skies from your window and glancing at the clock, hoping the hours slide away till you can tuck some spare tubes in your back pocket then walk your bike out of the garage into the sun.

English: Cycling club in Swansea, Toronto, Canada.

Right Dumfries CC back on your bikes!