Friday, and the mob are back at the KOW Leisure Centre being kept amused, leaving me able to ride my bike again. Hallelujah! *phew*. Etc. But what to do? Well I’ve been meaning to join the Somerset Cycling Friday ride for ages and today seemed like as good a day as any. To be honest I’ve been avoiding it because I’ve been worried about how fast/good they are, plus on the logistical front it’s a little late in the day for me – I usually ride first thing (ish) and they meet at midday. But procrastination is bad, right? Besides today I had the time, and as I’m currently happier cycling with other people than on my own, it seemed ideal. That made today the day. Carpe diem and all that.
A little after 11:00am I took myself off on a 13 mile cross country wiggle to Burnham on Sea to try and meet up with them, which turned out to be 48 minutes of slogging into a headwind with distinct absence of mojo. This did not bode well, and when I was standing around getting chilly trying to meet them a little (ok quite a large) part of me was tempted to just say s*d it and head for home. But thanks to the joy of text they were able to tell me where they were and where I should be, and I was able to find them. Five of them, as it turns out, all kitted out and professional looking. *gulp*.
Cycling with a new group is a tad scarey. Different riding styles, etiquette, speed, personalities…it takes a while to figure out how it all works. Luckily it was a pretty flat route, and for the first stretch out to Glastonbury the wind was behind us. In those circumstances group riding is a lot of fun, because it’s fast! *grin*. That kind of riding I can usually do, for a while at least, so I’m also less likely to get left behind. In fact I managed to keep up pretty well until we turned into the headwind to head via Godney to Sweets when I did get dropped slightly. I really hate wind… However being a chivalrous bunch they slowed down for a while and I got enough second wind (pun intended) to hold my own until coffee. Hard work but in a good way. It’s probably very good training to push myself a bit too. Mind you I’d have been doomed if it had been a hilly route though! Maybe if I get good enough I can even take my turn at the front? 😉
We sat around a busy Sweets café and I got to watch cyclists eat large amounts of cake. I’d love to be eating cake. I’d love to eat cake and stay skinny like some of them. Well let’s be honest, I’d love to be eating full stop but more of that later. So would you like to meet the guys?
Following coffee it was straight back to the top of Mudgeley Hill, where we variously parted company, leaving just me and the Boy Wonder to head back towards Cheddar. The BW came a cropper as he turned the last corner before the descent into Wedmore and hit the deck. Luckily I was a bit behind him but even so instinctive braking made my back wheel wobble a little so I think the road must have been a bit greasy. After having been impressed earlier that he was actually wearing long trousers, it’s a shame that he now has large holes in them :(. He claimed to be ok – hope you are! – but he may have been a little shaken, if not stirred, as he sat on my wheel for the entire way to Cheddar, and I think he scratched his plans to go up the Gorge :(. He went right, I went left, and there I was, home again.
Cycling time: 2:34:44 hrs
Distance: 44.34 miles.
AVS: 17.1 mph.
ODO: 12056 miles
Quite fast no? Especially as the first chunk on my own was only 15.something – and by coffee it was 17.3! Coming home into the wind was caffeine and painkiller fuelled so didn’t noticeably drop the average. My legs were really feeling pretty strong, which is encouraging. There were times today when I was slogging along into the wind feeling like it was hard work, and then I’d look down and see that I was going at 19mph. Let alone the speed I was doing keeping up with the group. So it felt like hard work because I was working hard! *grin*.
So I’d like to take a moment here to tell you how impressed I am by my body. And I don’t mean that in an immodest look at me kind of sense. I mean that it’s an amazing machine. Given all that it’s going through at the moment, the essentially liquid diet, the percentage of its calorific intake that has come from medicinal fermented grapes of late, the painkillers, and the fact that breakfast was just a banana, it’s just incredible that it can still do what it does and did. Chapeau, mon corps :).