Don’t leave me this way

Today is an ACG day.  It started with this morning’s ride, and will finish with the annual ACG Christmas do.  Anyone would think my life revolved around cycling or something ;).

In an 100% improvement on last week’s ACG ride, 4 of us turned up in the Square at a slightly later than usual 9:30am.  Bet some people didn’t pay attention to their email…  Anyway.  Me, GB, GF and the Boy Wonder rocked up, and debated the wisdom of our various layering strategies.  The BW was, as ever, woefully under-dressed – especially when you consider he has as much meat on him as a twiglet.  I pointed out that he has parents to nag him, so we weren’t going to.  In fact today’s biggest challenge may have been resisting the urge to say “I told you so” when he complained about the cold! *grin*

One of the wonders of cycling with other people is that sometimes the route is not up to you, and you can just let it all happen.  Today’s went something like this and was entirely GB’s invention.  I’m guesstimating, but am probably not far wrong.  Looks like 1132 metres of climbing – which is not to be sniffed at.  We started with the Gorge which, considering the cold and the wind, was a pretty good way to warm up.  As ever, the worst of the truly horrible wind was to be found up there on the top of the Mendips.  We did our best to avoid it – hiding behind hedgerows, tacking hither and thither, but when we turned left towards Burrington Combe there was no avoiding it – and we were really slogging our way along.  Just before our well earned descent, GB and I discovered that we were but two, and turned back to find that a spoke in GF’s rear wheel had gone.  After all that work to get up there, to get all warmed up, there was nothing for him to do but place a call to t’other half and beg for a ride.  Interestingly enough her initial response was exactly the same as my other half’s would have been.  “No I haven’t fallen off!” said GF… *grin*.  GB parted with spare layers to wrap him up as best as possible, and we headed off leaving GF to jog on the spot until rescue arrived.

Right, time for one of my favourite descents – Burrington Combe.  And it was as much fun today as ever.  I may nearly have the hang of it ;).  I kept a respectful distance from GB, as with the road surfaces as they are you don’t want to be finding yourself in a situation where sudden braking is required!  In fact I got two good descents today.  After plodding up past the Walled Garden, and wriggling around some interesting new roads around the Butcombe area, we got to go down Brockley Combe too.  We were going so fast we didn’t even really annoy the traffic behind us *grin*.  That just left us a final draining slog into the wind over to today’s coffee stop at the Strawberry Line Café – another new one for us.  It’s a community café – very nicely done up, very friendly, and an americano with some very good carrot cake only set me back £3.75.  Not bad.  And the cake?  Very good indeed :).

Luckily the majority of the miles were now behind us, as the thought of many more in that cold and wind were almost enough to keep us in the café.  It was most definitely cold as we set off again, which meant going a bit faster than usual for a while to warm up.  For a little while the sun even graced us with its presence, making it all that bit more pleasant.  We took the most direct route back – Congresbury, back roads to Sandford, through to Winscombe, up the delightful Winscombe Hill and home.  GB peeled off to go and retrieve his tin can from Weston, leaving the BW and I to climb that hill by ourselves again, as a little light rain started.  As we flew down the final straight along the bypass it became blatantly obvious where the wind was, as we hit 30mph without even trying.  Definitely fun :).  As I took my exit, for home, he went off to play silly games with hills, complaining of the cold.  No…I won’t say it….ooh, but it’s so tempting…*grin*.

Cycling time: 2:50:38 hrs
Distance: 44.32 miles.
Avs: 15.5 mph
ODO: 11288 miles

There – that makes up for those recent rides that have come up short, right?  I am totally loving my winter jacket and overshoes as I was just the right degree of warm today which no doubt accounted for me not finding it as much hard work as I might have done otherwise.  I forgot to take photos while I was out, so I took this one on the way to buy our Christmas tree a little later on, to continue the recent compare and contrast theme.  Yesterday Brent Knoll looked volcanic, rising out of the mist.  Today it looked almost biblical :).

Brent Knoll

Right, time to get ready for the Christmas dinner.  How will we cope seeing each other in civvies not lycra?! *grin*.  Possibly just as well it’s only an annual thing… 😉  I’m sticking with the cycling theme and having pasta to eat though – and I think I may have earnt the odd celebratory glass of wine :).