Bird Hills Puncturefest - 22 April 2018

With Martin R, Guy and Jon joining usual members Brett, Pete and Mike it was a strong group that headed off from Bird Hills. It had been agreed to head off to Henley as Martin, Guy and Brett were going to have to cut off early, and this was the ideal place to “split”.

A strong pace was set by Jon from the off on roads that were still wet from the previous night’s storms.  However, we didn’t get to Twyford before Jon, who had only got back from a big weeks training in Majorca the night before, punctured.

Once back on the road Martin, Guy, Jon and Brett ensured that the pace remained high and we headed out through Sonning Eye to Dunsden. Unusually the group kept together all the way up, so there was no stopping at the top, and we headed to Henley. As Jon, Guy and Martin pushed the pace on the Marlow Road, Pete picked up the second puncture of the day.  

Like Jon’s puncture the inner tube change did not go smoothly, but by the time we were back on the road it had been decided, that with two punctures already, we would give the Chilterns a miss and improvise a route.

At Henley Martin headed for home, while the rest of the group headed for Nettlebed, with Jon on the front. Just passed the Pishill turning Guy took over and as the pace picked up on the long drag up the Dual Carriageway Mike became detached. The four remaining pulled over before the top to let Mike catch up, and just before the Nettlebed roundabout Pete hit a pothole causing the third puncture of the day. Guy had to push on “home alone” while the rest helped with what this time was a quick change. On the road again we were quickly through Nettlebed, and then turning left towards Nuffield and Stoke Row with Jon still forcing the pace.

From Stoke Row it was fast all the way to Sonning, and the outskirts of Reading before retracing our steps to Twyford. Here Brett headed off while Jon, Pete and Mike pushed on towards Bird Hills. On the Vineyard climb Mike tried in vain to challenge Jon, and then Pete went to the front as we took the longer way back. Pete won the BH sprint, and after a brief stop it was decided to add on a few miles by doing part of the Drift Road TT in reverse. Pete, fresh from a 10TT PB on Thursday, was now “on a mission” and pulled the group round to the top of Hawthorn Hill, where Mike turned off for home.

To this point we had ridden about 50 miles together, at an average speed of about 20mph.

What we learnt today was, if you are using Lezyne pumps make sure the new inner tube valve is screwed in tight, otherwise it comes out with the pump!!