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.


Sam mixes it with Jody Cundy

In September I was lucky enough to win a competition through work to ride the track none other than Jody Cundy MBE.

A bit of background. Jody was born with a deformed foot and at the age of three his parents had to make the difficult decision to have it amputated. This didn’t deter Jody, even with a prosthetic limb he was sport mad, but from the age of ten swimming took over as his main activity, and soon enough he was breaking records for all age groups. At sixteen he won gold in the world swimming championships, knocking four seconds off his personal best. After this he represented Great Britain at three Paralympic games, winning three gold and two bronze medals. In 2005 persistent shoulder injuries started to get the better of Jody, and one day at an open day at Newport velodrome he decided to have a go (at this time he was based in Swansea). His potential was spotted by one of the coaches there, and within two weeks was on the boards at Manchester, beating the times of the then paracycling team. The rest, as they say, is history. Ten gold, two silver and two bronze medals in Paralympic and world championships, but Jody is probably more famous for his outburst following disqualification from the 1k time trial.

Having to be in Manchester for 9am meant an early start (4:30am!) but I got there bang on time. I got changed ready to meet up with the other four competition winners in the track centre for 9:30am. I was first out and immediately spotted Jody’s bike hanging up on the rack. Other winners than emerged, followed by Jody. We had a thirty minute chat, where he showed us his gold medal from Beijing and the bronze from London, then got given our bikes and got set up.  The next ten minutes to be honest were a bit boring as the instructor had to go through all the details about riding a track bike, cranks keep turning, stopping, look over your shoulder before moving up or down the track, etc.  We were then lead out onto the track by Jody, it was immediately obvious that one of the people was totally unfit (he hadn’t ridden a bike in twenty years), the lady of the group was very nervous, but the rest of us were pretty capable riders.  So we were left to our own devices for fifteen to twenty minutes while Jody and the instructor worked on the other two.  Everyone then came into the track centre again for a few minutes rest and a chat with Jody before going back onto the track, where now everyone was able to ride the blue line (halfway up the track) while me and the two others could ride right up the top of the bank.  After 20 minutes or so we came back in for a rest/chat, then it was time to do a (sort of) flying 250 metre TT, timed from the start/finish line for one lap.

Sam Day and Jody Cundy MBE

We started at the very beginning of the final straight, holding onto the wall on the track centre.  Jody went first, he got up to speed so quickly, then his pace along the back straight and the final bend was electric.  It was absolutely amazing to see.  I went off third, gave it the full beans, and found out after that I’d clocked the best time. Apart from Jody’s obviously, he was about two and a half seconds quicker.

After the TT and rest/chat we did through and off for about half an hour, the pace started quite slowly, but went quicker and quicker, and the unfit bloke soon pulled in.  Sounds a bit naughty to say, but I was hoping that the woman would do the same because Jody, I, and the two other blokes would have been able to put the hammer down.  Then it was time to pull in for a rest and chat before a final ten minutes on the track for a warm down.  Unfortunately (!) for me Jody asked if I wanted him to show me the lines he would take during the three warm up laps for a flying 250m sprint, plus the sprint itself. I couldn’t exactly say no.  Riding around the top of the boards inches behind Jody at about 30mph before sweeping down to take the black line around the track is something that will live with me forever.  Here is a Paralympic gold medallist and World Champion leading me round the boards at Manchester velodrome, the home of British Cycling. Once the flying lap started I gave it everything, no idea what time I did, but I was going pretty quick!

So after that it was a shower, lunch and a good chinwag with Jody for about an hour. During the chat I was presented with a signed skinsuit from Jody as the result of wining the time trial, a massive bonus on what was already a massive day.

I could obviously say that he is a top bloke, blah, blah, etc. But he really is.  So easy to talk to, very honest with what he was saying, and listened to everything everyone had to say. I tried to get Jody to sign up to become a Grump, but he said he couldn’t as he wouldn’t be able to keep up with us on the club run…..

Sam Day and Jody Cundy MBS

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