It was brass monkeys out there today. As forecast. This didn’t stop a few hardy ACG members from gathering in the Square at 9:30am, though at least one saw the few flakes of snow this morning, and bailed (you know who you are ;)). As for us? We’re all mad, quite mad I tell you! We being myself, Martyn, Trevor, and Dave. We did the usual…and decided the route on the spot. And, for my sins, I asked that we go and do some hills. They have to be done, right? Merckx had a point…unsurprisingly. Sportive season starts next week, and I’m fairly sure I’m not ready! Besides, what better way to get warm?
So, up grades it was. Shipham. Burrington. Bishop Sutton. West Harptree. That would be four hills, for the four of us. I got dropped on every one. But I made it up ’em. I put my head down, hid the horizon behind the peak of my toasty winter hat, and just pushed the wheels around until I got to the top. Kudos goes to Dave for taking me up West Harptree on a road I’d never been up before – not easy to find one of those around here! Once again I didn’t feel too terrible out there, I didn’t feel the need to get off and walk, even when it got steep, I was just slow compared to everyone else, and to myself when on form. So that’s ok :).
Coffee was half way round, at the Stables Tea Rooms, and came not a minute too soon. North of the Mendips was, as ever, a good couple of degrees colder than over here, and it’s not like it was balmy to start with! Hot coffee became an essential requirement as various bits of my anatomy started to lose sensation…mostly my face, a bit like after having a filling at the dentists. And the coffee was good too – bonus :).
OK, there’s no denying it was cold out there, but I was all wrapped up in every layer possible, and the hills generated heat as planned. Descents were a little nippy, but very few of them were safe enough to descend at the kind of speed that makes that a problem. Even Cheddar Gorge, which though open again, and well patched up, still has too many obstacles to negotiate for true fun. I had to stick to getting my kicks on the odd flat fast bits I could find. And when I did I did :D.
It probably sounds odd, but I really enjoyed myself today. It was one of those rides that at some point just becomes what you’re doing, and you lose track of what day it is, or where the ride fits into your schedule for that day, it just is what it is. The rest of the world fades away…and the only things in focus are you, your bike, and the road. Nice :).
Cycling time: 2:27:20 hrs
Distance: 32.8 miles
Avs: 13.3 mph.
ODO: 16006.89 miles