Sunday, 29 January 2012

Wind, rain, sleet and mud makes a good week.

Yep that was a good weeks cycling.
The Harp Hilly kicked it off by dishing out a tough windy episode in it's long history. Later that week I was out using up my last two remaining days off. My first day off was a very wet and windy solo affair, well solo until I caught up with Team Corley out on a steady endurance ride. I rode steady with them for a good while, then set off on my own route. I had been cursing the waterproof I'd been forced to don earlier in the ride, but over the Beacon I could see very dark clouds looming and I was heading right for them. And right on cue as I topped the Beacon for the decent and dash home the heavens opened, only it poured sleet not rain. Gingerly descending into Ivinghoe on settling sleet and wet chalk I came across the local hunt. Regardless of your views on hunting, the sight was spectacular and the weather just had me thinking 'what more could you want from a British winter ride'. So with sleet piling up on my jacket and soaked to the skin I took a shortcut through a green lane to get home.....all very 'Paris - Roubaix'
My second day off was a mountainbike epic taking in Epping forest. It had been fourteen months since I'd ridden an mtb, and this one had been cobbled together the night before. My riding partners for the day were my old long time traing partner Nick and ex pro Alan Perkins. To be frank the ride was great, but I didn't know where I was any of the time! We rode a great mixture of parkland, forest, riverside path and Boris Johnsons special edition Olympic year grit which gave me three punctures......I paid my tax for that as well! The turning point for the day was a riverside café and sausage/French bread with daddies all round. For a steady ride it still made me sleep sat up when I got home.
And today? A club run gone pear shaped, but rescued with some fine new roads.
Although a good turn out rolled out of Energie in town, some called it in on top of Ivinghoe Beacon due to very bad visability. I did say the weather would be okay over the Downs, and I was right by the way. After riding it for nearly forty years you get to know these things. Over the Beacon we opened some new lanes, but a combination of stopping and starting and the odd puncture meant we had to cut it short. I told Craig to press on as he needed to get home. That left me and Vince to play the route by ear. We decided to climb to Ashridge the long way and grab a coffee at the top. Coffee done and now freezing cold we set off only for me to puncture. I sent Vince off as we were on the home stretch and I leisurely sorted the puncture. The ride after was bizarre, beautifully calm no wind at all making the last ten miles a treat.
At home I took a look at the two bikes I'd ridden all week covered in filth, grinned and closed the garage door.

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