Big Mig, Doc, Gav, Iron Mike, Judge, Lion King, Pistol Pete, Rapha Paul, Rapid Ben, Slayer, The Wattmeister, Wolf, Young Geoff.
Muswell Hill/Regents Park/Swains Lane/Muswell Hill.
Misty, murky, still, damp, ominous.
Arriving late, due to an as yet unfinished incident with a chilli pepper, The Wattmeister latched onto the back of the departing peloton. A trail of flickering red lights stretched out from Muswell Hill to Highgate Station, it reminded TW of the start of the renowned Paris-Brest-Paris randonée, an event about which he rarely talks unless under extreme duress.
A fast pace was being set by Iron Mike, whose Trek has been virtually re-built for the winter. Sporting a shiny new chain and cassette, matching white tyres and handlebar tape, his gleaming machine contrasted with The Lion King’s new stealth fighter, a black Giant Propel Advanced SL with carbon Enve wheels encirled by Continental tyres with a tan sidewall. Mention for Pistol who was attired in a smart new royal blue Santini H2O acquazero jacket.
To be riding with such bling warmed the cockles of TW’s heart. Perhaps one day, he could glimpse himself in the reflection of Tesco Metro’s angled window at the bottom of Barnet Hill riding such a machine……but that would mean slowing down.
The group drove on at a furious pace and hit the Park in record time. The normal two lap warm-up went out of the window after just one anti-clockwise lap. The peloton was joined by other riders and the whole maintained a strong and steady pace for a further five laps, before Big Mig signalled the final loop finishing with the customary sprint to the Parkway exit.
After Gav’s successful breakaway from the previous week (which reminded TW of one of his own from Stage 3 of Paris-Nice 1986 in company with Guido Bontempi), he became a marked man. Slayer, Lion King and Wolf all took up perfect position in the line.
When the lights changed to green at York Gate, The Wattmeister briefly attempted to force a selection by hitting 1392 watts for 0.5 of a second. No one joined him in this vainglorious and quixotic adventure. The Rhino of RPR had appeared on the scene, and this turbo diesel of a rider towed the big group up to the floundering veteran. Despite a valiant defence by Gav to defend his crown, Young Wolf pipped Young Geoff and The Lion King for the podium places.
A disappointed Slayer regained some honour by thumping up Swains Lane on the return leg to Muswell Hill, but not before a moment of clear panic when he sensed that the old Wattmeister was pegging him back on the steepest part of the climb…. (see Tour of Flanders/Koppenburg attack 1988).
Another enjoyable outing, and thanks to Rapha Paul for coffee and cake, (142 cals = 13 watts).