Oh my gosh

As planned, S and I were out today.  We set off from the Square at 9:00am, with the sun shining and temperatures already rising.  My “arms” stayed on as far as the bottom of the Gorge (yes that Gorge) before being stowed away – that’s how warm it was.  And off we went, up the Gorge.  S had promised me, in motivational fashion, that we could count the goats.  Shame they didn’t appear until we were well up there…but hey, he did promise, and there they were.   Having done the Gorge before, I do at least know I can make it up, even if I may not exactly enjoy it.  It was no worse than usual really, and we emerged into the sunshine at the top unscathed…and met the wind, of course.  Well, S called it a breeze, but I’m writing this, so there…

After that it was down to Chew Stoke, across the lakes to Chew Magna, through Norton Hawkfield, Queen Charlton (we have some great place names around here), Chewton, Keynsham, Saltford and on to the Bath-Bristol cycle path for a bit.  My computer flooped around Bitton station for some reason (I blame the chatty Sustrans fundraiser), leaving me to rely on S for stats again.  (Not amused!).  On to Bridge Yate, Wick, Doynton, and then the Most Killer Hill up to the Toll Road Café on the A46 at Dyrham.  A BIG hill.  Not that was the only hill mind – not by any means – it was merely the worst among equals *grin*.  I surely was glad to get to that café…hot, bothered, soaked to the skin and in need of restorative sustenance.

1/2 way stats:
Cycling time: 2:53
Distance: 36.88 miles
Avs: 13.72 mph

Tea and very lovely New Zealand carrot cake were seriously welcome, as was the coolth (and I maintain that that’s a word) inside the café.  And the cold water I splashed all over my face in the Ladies.  (And no, I don’t know what the carrot cake had to do with New Zealand…).

All too soon it was time to head back, and it had proper heated up by now.  At one point my computer was claiming 30C…which is not the most comfortable for riding.  By any means.  However, the only way to get home was to push those pedals so….down (wheeeeee…..) Tog Hill on the A420, back through Wick, out to Warmley, round some wiggle cycle way bits to Brislington, Stockwood, and out towards Dundry.

Whereupon we met a very Big Hill.  Too big for me by half and then some.  Even the cars that went past us were struggling!  It was time for some hamstring stretching…  I did get back on briefly, but got round the corner…and up it went…and then it got steeper.  No sirree jim bob…  S managed to stay back on but, to be fair, he wasn’t cycling any faster than I was walking! *grin*.

Once up it was down to Winford (where we met a section of the ACG also out enjoying the sun), some lovely lovely downs ’round Butcombe, and across the lake at Blagdon (please lads, just cos the sun is out, doesn’t mean I want to see all that skin).  We considered Blagdon Hill, but with the decision being left up to me, that was hardly likely now was it?! *grin*.  We grabbed some extra fluid (lovely and cold) at the shop there and, feeling restored, went zooming down to Rickford, across to Churchill, Sandford, Winscombe…and wound up with a sprint finish down the bypass (29mph+ I’ll have you know – eat your heart out Lance) to get home just before my 3pm deadline.

Oddly we then discovered a large bulge in my rear tyre.  Looks like the tyre pressure was too high, then there’s the heat to push it up more…and the inner tube has gone mental.  S assures me the tyre will be ok, and that I just need to replace the tube.  Good thing it lasted long enough to get me home!

2nd half stats (according to me):
Cycling time: 2:17:34
Distance: 34.3miles
Avs: 15.0 mph

It really was too hot to be out today.  As you can see, we came back quite a bit faster – which has to have been the wind, since I was wiped when it came to any kind of up.  I don’t cycle at my best when I’m overheating.  It’s a darned good thing I put suntan cream on before I went out, and even then I’ve missed the odd bit – my mitt marks are even worse now, I look like Herman Munster – someone cut my hands off and stuck white ones on!  Oh – until you get to the last knuckle where I get my own fingers back again that is *grin*.

S is, as ever, a star for sorting the route, and sticking with me.  I wouldn’t do half the miles/hills without him, and I probably need to, even if I’m moaning about it all the while!

Total stats:
Cycling time: 5:10ish
Distance: 71.18 miles
Avs: 14.3 mph
ODO: 383 miles

Excuse the long blog – it was a long ride!

PS – to the idiot who threw a half full milkshake out of the car window at me near Shute Shelve…well, words escape me…ok, they don’t, but I’d best not put them down here!