I was supposed to ride yesterday. However the weather was rubbish, it was just me, and believe it or not, I did actually need to spend some time at the gym. Well, it’s not all about the legs is it? OK, it kinda is, but I have a chunk of exercises to do to help my knee, given me by my physio, and they’re not going to work if I don’t do them are they? One of the reasons it’s flared up again is that I haven’t been doing them enough, while the gym was being refurbished. So instead of riding, I had a surprisingly good gym session working on my physio exercises, my core, my arms, and the rest… Go me. Etc.
In order to stop me bailing this morning, in case I was likewise tempted, last night I went in search of a ride partner via the usual channels, and happened across an available Martyn. Result. So it didn’t really matter what the weather looked like when I woke up, because I was going anyway. Mind you, having upped my leg lunges, as recommended by that physio, from three sets of 12 on each side to three sets of 20 on each side, I woke up and realised I couldn’t actually walk…*grin*. Still, pedalling is different, the weather was actually only grey not wet, and I wanted to see how riding would feel after the weekend. No bailing allowed!
So, dear reader, that rather convoluted explanation explains, as it would being an explanation, why at 9:00am this morning I could be found in the Square, sitting on the bench in loitering teenager fashion, taking clearly relevant photos of my surroundings to pass the time.
Martyn arrived spot on time, which apparently is late for him ;). Having made an all-points FB broadcast, there could have been more of us, but there weren’t. Just the two of us then. We debated routes – in that Martyn suggested one, and I said that it sounded like an acceptable idea. Making decisions isn’t my strong point you see, I’d far rather let someone else decide what we’re doing! Time to go then…
Our route went something like this. Well, to be fair, exactly like that. That’s how Bella rocks it. Accuracy would be her middle name if she had one. It was grey, milder than expected, with a bit of a headwind on the way out, and less of a tailwind on the way back, because that is the way of the world. I swear the traffic is getting busier around here, which is fine when it’s just you, but a tad trickier when it’s not. It makes for less sociable riding too, so we did our best to use the back roads, muddier and bumpier though they be, because then we could ride and chat, rather than just single file it all the time. Martyn is so strong that keeping up with him is the best I can do, and I have to own up to not taking my turn at the front half enough. Sorry!
Before we headed for the hill of the day, it was time for some sartorial adjustment on Martyn’s half. We pulled over, and he gave a efficient demonstration of how to stash a waterproof. I’ve mentioned before that these jerseys have good pockets…here’s proof!
In the meantime, as we wait for Martyn to get himself all sorted, here’s a sign. Want to guess where we were going? Hint: East, not West.
It’s actually a lovely climb, as these things go. It goes up in steps – steep, rest, steep, rest, less steep, shallow out…the kind of hill I would design if I was Slartibartfast and fjords weren’t my thing. Martyn, being a busy business man, taking time out his busy business schedule, couldn’t quite escape the demands of the real world but, unlike the white van that stopped to let us past near Fenny Castle, he stopped to use his mobile phone. Only to discover that even on the top of the hill, with the largest aerial around just over the top of the hill, he couldn’t get a signal. That’s karma telling you not to answer the phone when riding and live in the ride. Or something ;).
Having slogged our way up a Horrington, with Martyn waiting for me from time to time, it was time to head straight from home across the Mendips. It’s surprisingly rolling up there but still pretty nice riding. After a while you run out of up and it’s downhill, well practically, all the way to the Gorge. I was having a great day descending, really enjoying it, almost as much as the Cinelli was, until Gorge maintenance stopped play. Spoilsport! I did in fact joke that he was a spoilsport, but this took a while to sink in… And then it did and he apologised for having killed my joy. In case that doesn’t give it away, English was not his native language methinks. But he was quite smiley, so I took his photo. And a photo of the rocks. Well, it passed the time…
On our way again, once the rocks had been thrown down and cleared, we were on our way again, with a brief stop at the temporarily tarted up Cox’s Mill. The powers that be have worked with a local artist and the local first school to produce a muriel along the side of it by the road to make it look better. And yes I know it’s a MURAL but youngest can’t stop calling it a MURIEL and now neither can I! *grin*
Youngest is, as you may have guessed by now, part of the school team involved, and somewhere in that muriel, made out of wood and affixed to the surface, is a buzzard, a peregrine falcon, two goats (adult and baby), a part of an otter, and this owl – all painted by her fair hand.
I need to go back and pay more attention at some point – but here’s her owl – the only one I recognised since it had a trip home to be worked on at some point :). Cute no? Time to head for home though, with a brief stop to get the most amazingly painful bit out of my eye before the bypass sprint. Gotta love contact lenses. Which reminds me, due to them not keeping bits/air out and also being scratched, I need to replace my sunglasses. Maybe I’ll put that on my Christmas list – a multi-lens pair of cycling glasses. Feel free to recommend me a good pair?
Cycling time: 2:06:02 hrs
Distance: 33.91 miles
Avs: 16.1 mph.
ODO: 807.95 miles
Like I said, time to go home, so home we went. It was a good ride, but I did find it hard work. I don’t know if that’s me, or that’s me trying to keep up with Martyn, and thus mentally finding it harder. Sunday’s ride was also hard, but that was after a sportive, so not really a good basis for comparison. Whatever the reason, as I have the Cyclosport industry party on Saturday which includes a ride that might be fast and which I’d like to try and be on form for, I’ve decided that that was the last ride of the week. Gym tomorrow, rest day on Friday. Which is good because it gives me extra time to get the bike clean, and man, is it ever dirty!