Sunday spin (Gubeon Golf Club, 18 Oct 2015)

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Stuart Cook and Barr Fordham discuss tactics, in the ambience of the Gubeon Golf Club’s tea room.

I know what you’re thinking – I know the club is changing but visiting golf clubs is ridiculous! I first went to the Gubeon Golf Club, near Morpeth, with Vin Halton many years ago and we have visited it infrequently since then, often in winter if it is not too frosty. The reason – it’s the cheapest cafe in the whloe of the north east. Tea/coffee is £1, sandwiches £1.50 and the cake (I didn’t buy but Graeme swears by it) is super. The club, now also a driving range, is open to everyone and when we arrived there were about 12 people already scoffing stuff and all of them were cyclists.

We departed CLS promptly at 0915 with threatening skies and a light northerly, heading straight up the A167 Great North Road where it had been raining. At the top of Team valley we had decided to go around Ladypark, and eventually emerged near Dunston. Taking ths usual route up Throckley bank, we turned left on the Stanfordham Road but then took a right through Medburn and cut across the lanes to Blackheddon. There was little traffic out and we had an opportunity to chat and catch up as usual. At this point the group consisted of six riders, with Malcolm and Peter having decided to go to Standfordham.

From Blackheddon we dropped into Belsay, then took the B road towards Whalton and then Morpeth. Pace was brisk into the headwind, but the group stayed together. We then reached the golf club and sat down for about 45 minutes. At about 1215 we departed and took the easy side of Saltwick hill before passing Kirkley farm and the reaching Ponteland. Young Andrew Stokoe decided to liven things up on the climb out of Swalwell and was chased by Barry Fordham and Steve Hughes. With the tailwind we made good time back to Blaydon and threaded around the back of Team Industrial Estate.

On the three steps up to the A167 (after the church at Kibblesworth and at the rail overbridge) I decided to try and attack to liven things up. Steve Hughes quickly caught me as I neared the end of the first step, but was overtaken by a flying Andy. Barry, who had kept a steady pace at the front from the Teams, decided to jump on, by which time Andy had dispatched Steve and was heading for victory past the cemetery. However, experienced racer Fordham was not going to let this one go, and dug in to take the victory. Both Barry and Houghton CC guest Steve Gee then added more miles to make it over 100 for the day – well done lads!

We had a really good day – we were lucky with the weather and, once again, enjoyed the glorious lanes of Northumberland. Peter Scott