I left the house a bit later this morning; the roads were busier and there were more cyclists. When nearing the A38 i saw a cyclist up ahead looking quite deadly in a full pro outfit with no helmet, just one of those small drawstring hat items. I gave chase, unsure if i’d be able to catch up. From a distance he looked suspiciously like Ben Luckwell which meant the odds were stacked against me – unless he was on a recovery ride.
Eventually i made it onto his wheel. He knew I was there – like any hardened roadie he was looking behind regularly and fully aware of his surroundings. I did my best to not appear as though i’d just had a triple hernia and tried to look effortlessly pro with my saddlebag and Mercian in full winter get-up. We had a chat and complained about the fickle weather destroying the early season calendar. I’ve seen Ben Luckwell before on the A38 at about this time of day; once I was working stupidly hard and managed to scrape past him on a climb whilst he was probably just chilling out, but at an absurd pace. Another time he came past me on the flat at about 30mph and I felt silly and slow.
Ben has an extensive palmares. He has a bronze medal from the Commonwealth Games and rode the Seoul Olympics. He’s a previous winner of the Premier Calendar and has also bagged several stages at the Milk Race.
I felt a bit silly to be holding his wheel. After a short while I turned left and he ploughed remorselessly onwards. After about 9 hilly miles I realised I’d been averaging 20mph. This is substantially above my usual 16mph commute.