A hazy shade of winter

Maybe this Friday ride with Somerset Cycling is indeed a regular thing?  Three weeks in a row and counting…  Perfectly timed too, as I needed to check out all the changes made yesterday were working ok before the Mad March Hare on Sunday.  It was another chilly foggy morning, but I took a chance on it not being as nippy as it seemed and left the base layer at home again.  Heading down the A38, being overtaken by some uncharacteristically respectful lorries, I was a little concerned that that wasn’t a good call, but as I pushed the wheels around as fast as I could, I warmed up just fine :).

a misty Mark Church

Back down to Mark for 11:00am.  I hate being late, so I ended up being early – as usual.  Check the time out for yourself!  Well the direct route is quite fast, and it was even faster today, thanks to having my wonderful rear wheel back on.  It really is faster!  And I don’t care if that’s just placebo effect, so there :P.  I averaged over 18mph getting there, so there must be something in it, right?

It be rural out here...

After a little while killing time in the twitterverse, I was gradually joined by various other riders.  It’s a different bunch of people out every time which makes it tricky to get a grip of.  Two different faces this week, two more unknown variables to ride with…

Elliot - looks fast to me!

Michael and Astana Man

Michael had kindly put together a route that headed back out my way – Mark, Weare, Webbington, Loxton, Christon – so that I could peel off and head for home when the time came.   Not as flat as the last couple of rides but flat can get a bit boring, and I do love some of those roads.  Very scenic, nice and quiet, and there are some nice little descents amongst the ups :).

Sarah and Astana Man near Loxton

We had coffee at Banwell Garden Centre which was a first for me.  Good coffee, and massive portions cake, if cake is your thing.  They also have plastic covers for their comfy seats, which is a good thing, as it makes me feel less guilty about sitting on them!  The staff were very friendly, and if you pick up a card when you’re there – you’ll be entitled to 10% off all purchases made (including food) if you turn up on a bike.  Very environmentally friendly no?  Mind you, I can’t think of much that I could buy at a garden centre that I could get home on a bike!  Packets of seeds maybe?  Which I’d probably forget about, leave in a back pocket, wash, and leave to germinate in the kit box by accident! *grin*.

...that's another fine mess you've gotten us in to...

Michael, about to tell me where to stick my camera...

From there it was easy to fly home.  Down the lovely straight to Winscombe, out and up to the main road, down the bypass.  My feet barely touched the ground…unless you count the traffic lights at Winscombe where Sarah and I were so busy admiring Elliot’s track standing ability, and wondering if he could keep it up, that when the lights went green there was a pedal related incident and instead of him coming a cropper, she nearly did!  How she managed to stay upright I’ll never know *grin*.  Never a dull moment…

I found a headwind on the bypass which ruined my attempts to get over 30mph, but still, in no time at all I was back here.  I know, it broke my 2 hour rule, but I did promise myself I’d try and take it a little easy this week before Sunday, so I have an excuse.  Having said that I was having so much fun out there I could cheerfully have done twice as much – even though it’s probably just as well that I didn’t :).  I’ll be grateful on Sunday I’m sure, as I’m slogging around in the wind and the rain…

Cycling time: 1:33:03 hrs
Distance: 27.75 miles.
AVS: 17.8 mph.
ODO: 12269 miles

I really need to get better at group riding.  Actually it would help if I was more confident in my own abilities.  Only I have this tendency to be convinced that everyone else is better than me.  If I sit in the middle of the pack I worry that I’m not pulling my weight.  And then when I get on the front I go too fast because I think that everyone behind me is faster than me, and I think I’ll be holding them up.  I don’t check behind enough, and then what with the way everyone goes up hills differently, and the fact that I don’t seem to be able to help going as fast as I can when I can I end up going off the front, which is a very poor show, and if I keep that up they’re probably going to stop letting me ride with them at all!  Sorry guys :(.  I promise to learn and do better!

On the upside – my brakes were working just fine, and the rear wheel went ’round as it should.  And I love my new Rapha mitts.  They fit like a glove (who’d thought it? *grin*), warm to the temperature of your skin, and I’d forgotten I was wearing them in no time at all.  Oh, and they smell of leather too, which may sound obvious, but is rather nice nonetheless.  Well lycra is frequently not all that fragrant *grin*.