Delight as Spalding Cycling Club members return to action
Like all other sports, cycling has suffered under the current coronavirus pandemic.
Spalding Cycling Club has members who ride purely for the sheer enjoyment of being out in the open with like minded friends and for the social company and pleasure of a cafe stop.
Since lockdown, neither of these have been available, and members have been limited to solo riding. There are also those who, as well as social riding, like to race competitively – time trialling, road racing and cyclo-cross – and in a sense they have suffered most.
Since the end of the season last October they will have spent hours either out on the road or on their indoor trainers building up for the 2020 season that has not taken place. Depending on the health situation, no one can be sure that the cyclo-cross season, that usually starts around October, will take place.
As an official cycling club, Spalding is under the umbrella of British Cycling and with riders and officials' health in mind, they have rightly shown extreme caution over permission for club rides and racing to take place. However, with the gradual government relaxation of rules, British Cycling has given clubs permission to hold events and group rides but, under strict guidelines.
Small groups of social rides have been taking place for a number of weeks, both at the weekend and with the club's midweek riding group. These have been organised by individual members amongst themselves to keep the numbers in a group to the sanctioned six.
For the time being the club has delayed sanctioning the official Saturday club ride that is always posted on the Facebook page for any interested newcomers to cycling or to the district who might like to give the ride a go.
Much to the joy of the racers in the club, time trialling at club level has finally been sanctioned but, again under strict rules. The club held the first Time Trial of 2020 last Tuesday and it proved the old proverb "absence makes the heart grow fonder" to be true,with the biggest turnout the club has had for some seasons.
The fact it was a perfect night; warm and with only a slight breeze also helped. It took place on the regular Pode Hole course but, with a slight modification to take account of health guidelines.
There was no "pusher off ", meaning riders had to start with one foot on the ground (no track stands) and the start line was moved from near the Horseshoe Road traffic lights to nearer the Bourne Road where there was room for the starters to socially distance.
For the same reason the finish line was taken further down the Delph. The result was that instead of the regular 10 miles it was only just over 9.8, perhaps a bonus for the "elder statesmen" competing. In addition, guest riders from other clubs will not be allowed to take part, unlike a normal season.
Racing was very competitive and there was only 30 seconds between "the young gun" Matt Ellis and the more senior Chris Ward, making a welcome return as a club member.
Club champion Josh Wallis, riding a road bike and not a TT bike, came in 35 seconds behind Ward. The Bowser family were out in full force, providing the two youngest competitors. Velvet, the sole lady rider, managed to clock 20mph for the first time in a time trial.