CS Grupetto

We are a little bit different to most clubs in that we\'re primarily a group of friends who socialise off the bike, but we happen to share a common interest in cycling and cyclesport. We are based in Putney and have regular weekend rides out to Windsor and the Surrey Hills, as well as occasional trips elsewhere.

We have a wide variety of cycling interests amongst club members, from track riding to road racing, and sportives to bike polo. Several of our members have their race licences, and we\'re represented in every category including Elite

We regularly travel further afield to enjoy some of the classic races – this year quite a few of us have ridden the Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix sportives, and then watched the pros follow our tyre tracks. We also try and get to see the Ghent and Berlin six day track events.

At the core of the club ethos is a desire to enjoy good rides with good friends.


Tour of Flanders 2011

Tour of Flanders

Shake and bake baby, shake and bake…

I must admit I was a touch nervous about this years Flanders – Last year I was still having probs with me back and to be honest hadn’t done the training I should have which involved me walking up all the climbs “what do you mean there are hills ya bastards!!”

Even though I’d done a fair bit of riding there was still the fear, the CapelMuur loomed like an angry black dog threatening to bite my arse if I hadn’t done enough training.

Off to Victoria we go to meet Jaygee, Ved, Ricky, Tom, Laura, Steve and Continental, a straightforward bus and ferry journey enlivened by the Dave and Wayne cinema club, how dave got a hotdog into his bucket of popcorn baffles me. The usual Grupetto pre-race carbo load of Tucker and Trippels passed away the evening.

Morning comes and after a hurried breakfast and a generous helping of gooch cream we’re off on t’bus. Build bikes, watch ved do some ninja bar tape wrapping and peg it to start, wait in queue of forruns who if they’d shown  the same level of aggression on the battlefield as they do in queues maybe wouldn’t have lost 2 world wars, a 40 minute wait and we’re off.

The delay means we go like the clappers to get on the course in time and we soon split with me not being able to keep the pace but alls cool. It’s soon evident that there’s gonna be a fast group and Ricky,Tom, Steve, JG and Continental whip off. Ved and I carry on then I see Ricky von Simpson – After a couple of back to back 70 hour weeks and the beginning of the lurgy discretion proves the better part of valour and he joins me and Ved.

I love the classics and the first set of pave brings back great memories of past grupetto trips to flanders and roubaix, good times and a little memory nudge for the guys who couldn’t make this trip, you were missed. Vedster splits to do the 70k route and it’s just me and Ricky, just like the old times.

The first Berg appears, shit… oooh bugger me I’ve got up it, how did that happen!! Get the feelng I might enjoy this, the miles get eaten up just riding alongside Ricky, the occasional glance, a nod of recognition at memories of previous flanders as we pass a town or a familiar farmhouse. It’s what riding for me is all about, with your mates, the gentle hum of tyres puctuated by the rattling of chains as you hit the pave, that 30 second glide when you hit smooth tarmac after a long cobbled section.

Koppenberg – no chance. I kid myself it’s because all the riders in front of me had gotten off but I know the truth is that the Koppenberg would have beaten me. Loads more bergs – Battenberg, Iceberg, Chris De Berg – I climbed them all…

Then it was crunch time – the Muur was there, just challenging me, Did I admit defeat or have a go, had the previous climbs taken it all out of me – Last year I’d walked up it in disbelief that my mates were riding up it. Ahhhh f*ck it, in the words of the ramones ‘hey ho, let’s go’. With the strains of “ca plane pour moi” on my internal jukebox I stuck it in the spinny gear and just put my head down – at least see how far you can go eh fat lad… Shit I’ve done the tarmac section, I’m on the cobbles! I can do this! Hit the corner, see the photographer and I’m out of the saddle – If Hippy’s taught me one thing it’s how to pose for the snappers. Crikey it’s getting steep now, remember BMMF’s advice about steady tempo and watching the road directly in front of me and bugger me I’ve done it. Last year I’d walked all of them, this year I’d ridden all of them bar 3…

Of course Ricky, even feeling kanckered and poorly has beaten me up the hill by a large margin but it’s absolutely magic to see him waiting for me and to be able to give him a wobbly smile and say I’ve done it. A nice burn home and it’s job done – a great day in the sun and dust of Flanders.

As always for me these trips are all about the peeps you’re with and more beer and giggles were had. The shared rides, the comradeship, the talking shit in dodgy belgium bars at 1 in the morning

Special props to Jaygee for putting down an absolute stormer whilst popping his Classics cherry.

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