There is always a sense of anticipation and excitement in the days before the club dinner.
Even if you have won nothing in the whole season it’s too good an opportunity to meet up with mate for one last time before the winter properly bites.
Fenland Clarion Cycling Club held its dinner the weekend before last at historic local hotel “The Bell” in Stilton. Vein leaden cheese was of course on the menu as was a question and answer session with Russell Downing, our guest of honour.
Downing is a legend in UK cycling terms and he enchanted the gathered audience with tales of Giro exploits, Kermesse encounters and who was the brainiest at school out of his brother Dean and he.
It was brilliant stuff and all very British as we queued nicely for a chat and a photo with him afterwards.
The venue, the ambience, the chat & banter were all perfect and it was a triumphant evening for a club with strong local roots and some great young riders coming through scooping up some of the prizes.
Yours truly squeezes into the photo
As the drinks flowed and the chat carried on, minds started to turn to the following morning club run which would see Downing lead the club out from the hotel.
The group was over 30 strong, swelled by other local riders who had heard about the presence of British Cycling royalty.
And you know what?
It made the year riding alongside Russ for a few short yards. He was such a friendly chap who spoke positively and eloquently about the sport and its grassroots. You couldn’t fail to be inspired to try even harder to train this winter.
It almost felt like you owed it to him to try that bit harder when the frost was biting at the doorstep and you wanted to stay in bed.
Fingers crossed I stick to it....