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Out On The Road With Wayne Part 1

Introductions: Dave Loughran – Planet X founder.
Martin Dainty – former International rider – Planet X employee – Author of this piece.
Wayne Randle – former international rider with the reputation of being made of granite.

The story starts with a brief and innocent discussion sometime in January between Dave Loughran and Me (Martin Dainty). Dave said to me "Martin, I am sorting Wayne out with one of our new EC-130 bikes to test, can you organise a few rides with him and get some feedback?" "Err yeah, sure thing Dave, what sort of thing do you have in mind?" I replied, "just some classic hard rides with the local nutters, Humber Bridge, Boggle Hole etc". I quickly spoke to Wayne and explained the situation and his response was an enthusiastic "Ok Martin, no worries… be rude not to"

A few text messages, phone calls and a little work on social media later and we have the first ride sorted for Sunday 7th Feb – We arranged to meet the pose at the infamous Womersley Bus stop at 9 am and ride the Humber Bridge loop, its 100 miles give or take.

I arrived in Womersley with my Team Cystic Fibrosis teammate and good friend "Mark Dogs Davies", Mark is one of the few I can count on to never say no to anything. The others riders are a mix of Team Cystic Fibrosis Lads, Carnac / Planet X Team riders, past legends, premier calendar winners and some very handy younger riders. Basically, a quick look around at the calibre of riders confirms this ride will be pretty grim.

Now, I’ve raced and shared the road with some bloody good riders over the years. Roger Hammond, George Hincapie, Stuart O’Grady, Chris Boardman, Ian Stannard, Rob Hayles, Chris Newton, Dean and Russ Downing, the list goes on. Riding at that kind of level is hard – very hard!! But facing the Humber ride with some of Yorkshires biggest nutters is an experience that’s difficult to put into words. Quite frankly, you have to be there.

The ride was scheduled to leave at 09:00 but at 8.57 am Wayne shouted "Come on, we off or what lads", a random in the back replied, "Hold fire Wayne, there’s still some arriving".

A mere 60 seconds later and the patience was up and at 8.58 am Wayne shouted, "Rollout". So we do, We roll out past the guy still putting his wheels in, past the guy adjusting his saddle and past the 2 guys still putting on their gloves and helmets. We were destined to see only one of the aforementioned during the next 5 hours; James Vickers (Carnac / Planet X Rider), James quickly found the correct saddle height as riders passed him on the roadside and spent the next 5 miles chasing to reach a diminishing bunch. That’s right, diminishing!! Within the first 5 miles, only 25 of the original 35 riders had made the group.

After about 10 miles there was an incredible BANG. It was the first puncture, one of the riders from ‘Geared Up’ had a flat rear in the middle of the group, lord knows what he had in it but it sounded like somebody had been shot. Everyone stopped, had a pee, mumbled around for 20 secs then set off without a word… I guess we wouldn’t be waiting for mishaps today then.

The group carry on and a short while later, BANG… the 2nd puncture, this time, the flat turns out to be one of the Cystic Fibrosis lads. Mark and I call out "puncture", the usual call for everyone to pull over. This was met with Silence and 25mph was maintained, we try again but much louder, "PPUNCCCCTURRRE". More silence and the speed of 25mph is maintained. One lad scrabbles to the front to have a word and a murmur in the group is heard "he wasn’t pulling through anyway" the speed - Still 25mph.

A grim, gruelling and excruciating 20 miles later and the Humber Bridge is now in sight. It’s been quick 23mph average and it’s been a tad sketchy. Late calls for turns and junctions, poor roads and some riders on the limit have ensured that. At the pointy end, it was the usual suspects driving things along. Wayne, John Tanner, Jake Tanner, Anthony Bromley, James Allen plus a few other willing souls riding on the edge of what they could cope with. Myself cagily riding through now and then with Mark to keep the peace whilst still trying to keep the powder dry. Every now and then I’d ride alongside work college James Vickers, still jumping for joy over his chase at the start.

Just finishing the last of Mrs Dainty’s Christmas cake (my favourite choice of pocket food) and I look up the road, It’s a hill, not a big hill, more of a ramp that looks to level out to a false flat but it’s a hill! If you’re reading this and you know anything about road riding you will know that it isn’t the hill that’s the problem – it’s how fast you go up it. Jake tanner went up it VERY fast! With Yorkshires hardest nutters riding through and off in hot pursuit. Everyone else scrabbling for gutter space with gaps appearing rapidly. This continued into the next ramp. By now I am in bother! What do you do? Dig massively deep to hang on for fear of being left in the middle of nowhere 50 miles from home with the prospect of the best part of 3 hours into a block headwind on your own, or let the wheels go and hope to find a small sensible group to slot into. It was the latter I go with, but not so much by choice either.

I looked around, all that was left was myself, James Allen and Mark Dogs Davies. Not great but certainly better than being on my own. "Boomerang Vickers" popped up next, unsure where from but he was there! We resigned ourselves to the grind our way home having lost the express train.

Or had we?

Low and behold there it was coming up behind us at 200mph. We climbed aboard thanking our lucky stars knowing it was unlikely we would get shelled out into the headwind home. That feeling lasted for around 5 minutes or about half way up the next drag. The express train once again disappeared and we formed what was the 2nd group on the road, 7 of us. Once again ‘boomerang Vickers’ pops out of a side road from nowhere to join us.

The rest of the ride was a dull grind of flat suffering. Riders dropping off one by one. Eventually, there was just Mark and myself left to ride into the village of Womersley. A tad disappointed we couldn’t make it round with the loony group but pleased we’d done ok.

As for the EC130; it looked to be fairing rather well when I last saw it disappearing over one of the isolated drags in the ‘Badlands’. Next up ‘Boggle Hole’, you're all more than welcome to come along.

10 February 2016