After the rain has fallen

I usually reckon on 2 colds a year, and I’ve had them.  However I seem to be working on my 3rd.  My friend reckons that maybe I actually have 2.2 colds a year and this is my leap year.  Which I think was supposed to be helpful.  I kept it at bay with echinacea for a couple of days but I now appear to be losing the battle, as the sore throat crept back last night and was there with a vengeance when I woke up this morning.

So, there I lay, drinking green tea, looking out of the window, at glorious sunshine and clear skies.  Pondering the wisdom of riding whilst not well.  Trying to figure out how not well I actually felt.  My hubby, half way to Basingstoke, texted me in helpful fashion to tell me that it was cold but lovely and that it would be a shame to waste it.  After all, it was hideous yesterday and is due to be hideous tomorrow.  On that basis, I decided that yes, the bike was a goer, but to leave it a little while to allow the temperature to warm up a little, and for any ice there might be to melt away.  I also played the “well, if I feel crap, I can always come home early” card.  Seriously though, when was the last time I actually did that?  Still, mentally, it helped to get me out of the building, so I’m not knocking it.

I headed out around 10:30am, wrapped in every layer I have.  First outing for the proper heavy jacket and the Woolie Boolie socks this winter.  Oh, and the over the head under the helmet Buff to go with the round the neck one too.  Toasty ears 🙂  I got away with wearing mitts still though, on the basis that if the rest of me is warm enough, it spreads out to my hands.  I reckon that may the last time that works though!  And I did have my winter gloves stuffed in the saddle bag just in case.

I did a wiggly route in the sunshine.  It wasn’t entirely flat either, as you can see.  I was trying to vary things a bit, but not push me or my knee too hard, and to enjoy the lovely weather and scenery.  The light at this time of year is just lovely – all the colours are so vibrant – and there’s lots of wildlife.  I admired the usual suspects including, near Rooksbridge, a pair of swans with brood of seven cygnets swimming.  Yes, the Christmas countdown has started…

At the moment when riding I often feel a bit like Frances Houseman just before the big show at the Sheldrake.  There’s a mental dialogue on every hill and every corner.  “Get your balance right.  Relax your arms.  Breathe.  Push down on the outer leg, and on the inside hand.  Don’t panic.  Don’t brake…not yet…not yet…” (and repeat).  And it all went pretty well – I was happier with my cornering, and such descents as there were.  I think I’m making progress. I even did a bit of “look ma, no hands” on the Mark to Burtle stretch, and found it lot easier than before. Ok, so I won’t be changing clothes or blowing my nose whilst riding along any time soon, but it’s nice to know I can kinda do it.

After 90 minutes or so the painkillers started to wear off.   My sore throat began to impinge upon my joie de vivre, and then the knee started twingeing too.  Riding was no longer entirely fun.  Time to go home, said Zebedee.

Cycling time: 2:10:48
Distance: 32.65 miles
Avs: 14.9 mph
ODO: 6431 miles

I’m a bit disappointed with the average speed, but I guess there are plenty of reasons for it.  Like the number of layers around my knees.   The cold.  My cold.   Not to mention the NNW wind that seems to have taken up residence here – that certainly wasn’t helping.   It was still a darn sight better to be on the bike than not though 🙂