Another one bites the dust

I think I should take out shares in Giro.  And if you want good cycling weather, then don’t come out on a ride I’m planning.  To be fair the actual weather today is glorious and beautiful and sunny.  But, and here’s the rub, it’s also cold and icy.  The sun is too low in the sky to melt all the ice on roads sheltered by hedges and shrubs, and it’s been so wet of late that there was an awful lot of water around to be converted to solid form last night.

So I planned an ACG ride, and awoke to glorious sun and crispy everything.  Marvellous :/  5 of us gathered, more or less on time, in the Square, with a certain sense of trepidation – GB having had to walk down Winscombe Hill to get to the main road due to the ice, which hardly inspired confidence.   There was myself, GB, KG, a new guy, and the Boy Wonder.  Plans to go to Brean Down were swiftly scrapped – not because of the uphills, but because of the possibly treacherous downs.  We opted instead to head straight down the A38 to Tarnock, go left and across to Mark, and from there to Rich’s Cider Farm for coffee.  Which went pretty well.  Rather annoyingly it would appear that the main road hadn’t been gritted but being wide and exposed, it wasn’t too bad.  The road across to Mark was icy but we took it very easy, and we all arrived for coffee in one piece, albeit a little chilly.  In case you were wondering, roads are not supposed to be sparkly 😉

Coffee and fuel on board, we headed off again.  KG had to get back and took what would turn out to be a very wise decision, and headed back the way we came.  OK, so he was right, but don’t tell him I said that.  The remaining 4 of us came back across the icy Levels, trying to use the driest clearest roads possible.  It was a bit hairy, and both BW and GB nearly came a cropper.

We were nearly on the home straight, up on the top before the Trotters somewhere, when things went a little pear shaped.  Again, it’s not the ice you see that gets you, it’s the other stuff.  Maybe sparkly is better?  So it was black ice that got the better of me, as I unexpectedly found myself hitting the road.  Literally.  Again.  Well, I suppose it was about time, it had been a while after all.  Luckily I wasn’t going very fast, as I had been being careful.  I wasn’t braking or anything, it’s just that the road was like an ice rink – my wheels completely lost traction, went out from under me, and I hit the deck on my right side, as usual.  The new guy following me went down too, braking to avoid me, and the rabbit we were about to go past went down having heard us go down.  I’m thinking dominoes here.  Oh, and ice doesn’t make the road any softer either.  My right hip took most of the impact, oh, and of course my head.  I have cracked another helmet – that’s the third now.  But that’s why you wear one.  Because the helmet gets cracked – not your head!  Have I mentioned I swear by them?

My mates variously picked me up off the road, those that weren’t picking themselves up of course!  The rabbit gave up and decided to walk home.  And new guy seems to have survived, without trashing his new jacket, which was his main concern 😉  It’s funny what you think as it’s happening.  I was just praying not to break anything because I’ve got too much on this season!  And I appear to have managed that.  I’m going to have a lovely bruise on the hip, and I’ll admit to having a bit of a headache but apart from that I’m fine.  The bike is going to need a bit of work – the saddle moved, so needs re-hair spraying and putting back in place, and it just generally needs checking over.  Good thing I’m due to see Andrew on Friday then.

We cycled the rest of the way home in a relatively respectful and restrained fashion, which may have meant us not cycling in the ice by the edge of the road and thus taking up some of the road that clearly belonged to the blonde passenger of the car that went past shouting obscenities at us.  I may have told her to go forth and procreate in response.  I mean really, what did she hope to achieve by that?  She’s bl**dy lucky the traffic lights that we were approaching turned green just as she got there or I think the posse might have had a few choice words to share with her…  BW and the new guy headed off to Cheddar and home, leaving GB to chaperone me to my door to make sure I was ok, chivalrous to the end 🙂

I’d give you my stats, but apparently my cycling computer has been happily riding along without me again as I sit here, evidenced not least by the fact that it thinks my average speed was 27mph…  At a rough guess it added about 25 miles to the ODO.

So, on balance, not the best ride of my career.  However up until then I was feeling pretty good.  Legs were happy, bike was smooth, back was diclofenac numbed, knee never really got a chance to cut in, and it’s always nice to be out with the ACG.  Better luck next time 🙂