Cycling - 2

Started by Dixkot, May 12, 2013, 00:27:41 am

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February 08, 2020, 22:28:51 pm #3750 Last Edit: February 08, 2020, 22:31:22 pm by Slim
With the wind coming from the south and due to intensify in the afternoon, a run out down south seemed to be the best plan. I thought I'd have a crack at Northamptonshire, via the usual (or more recently usual) route down to Welford. And that's what I did, but not at first. I left the garage at about 08:30 and after about three miles, realised I'd actually commenced the eastward route, which starts in pretty much exactly the wrong direction.

Rather than stop and do a U turn, which would have been bad for morale, I decided to keep on a bit then loop back through Whitwick. And I did that, though not before getting lost along a road that ended at a farm for a mile or so. But I found my way back to the intended route before long, having done roughly 7 spurious miles. I wasn't really bothered, though. I'd been thinking of tacking on a few at the end anyway, to get the distance up a bit over the 80 mile mark.

If readers are concerned that the above sounds a bit like an early onset dementia symptom, please don't be. I've been like that at least since primary school. My teachers used to despair of my absent-mindedness.

Very pleasant run down through Newbold, Kirkby Mallory, Earl Shilton, Stoney Stanton et al. The closed road I'd encountered at Broughton Astley last time I came this way was still closed but I was able to bypass the roadworks along the pavement very easily.  I was a bit too cold, actually. Hadn't quite wrapped up warm enough. But I was fine when the sun came out in the afternoon.

Arrived at Welford and decided not to take a pic of the Northamptonshire sign, as it was surrounded by standing water and I would have got my shoes wet. After a snack at a bench in the village I kept on for a bit, and turned for home after about 42 miles. I'd forgotten to bring a pump and I felt I was pushing my luck going too far on tyres well into four figure distances. Really must change them in the spring. I was already mentally rehearsing a provisional explanation for calling the wife out 40 miles from home.

I was using the eTrex for navigation, having done that full route only once before - and on the way back, north of Welford I noticed that I was no longer on the purple track on the display, denoting the planned route. I decided to take a right to a village called Sibbertoft that was signposted, and work out a way back from there. I'd been meaning to do a bit of a diversion to get the distance up a bit more anyway. This was a really pleasant interlude that took me past a gliding club. I saw a couple of gliders circling overhead. Got to Sibbertoft, stopped and consulted Google Maps and realised I just needed to turn back the way I'd come. I hadn't actually left the planned route at all, when I thought I had. The eTrex must have flipped to standard map mode due to a misclick. Or something.

Stopped at the village shop / coffee shop at Gilmorton on the way back and had a sandwich, lemon curd shortbread (yum) and a coffee. I reminded the girl behind the counter that she'd had to call someone to explain to her how to use the coffee machine last time I was there, but she has the hang of it now.

Slightly bothered by sidewind on the way back, here and there. The headwind on the way down wasn't too bothersome and on the way back, mostly I had a tailwind. Always a comorting sight to see a wind turbine spinning merrily in your direction when you're on a bike.

Back home much the same way, except that I took a wrong turn at Kirkby. Google Maps suggested that it went to Desford so I pressed on, but it devolved into a muddy track after about a mile. So I turned back.

Back home just at sunset on 85.4 (Strava says a bit more, but I've subtracted from that to compensate for clogging round the shop and wee stops with the watch on).

I'd made a slight adjustment to the saddle height as an experiment before setting off - raising it by about 7mm - and that did seem to make a positive difference. I don't doubt I could have done another 15 miles but didn't want to push my luck, and in any case it was getting dim and I only had a flashy blinker on the front. In any case I'm very happy to have done 85 miles without too much trouble (knees feel a bit sore now but nothing sinister). I will work up to doing a 100 miler. I could certainly choose a flatter route than that one, anyway. Maybe 92 next time, perhaps in warmer weather on a longer day.


With tomorrow's forecast being a bit of a windout, I thought I'd better maximise today. Not that I really did, but 44.5 miles was my longest ride of the year so far and the first with 4,000 feet of elevation gain.

It was still a bit blowy at times today especially as the afternoon wore on. I expected a bit of a windy helping hand coming up from Beeley, but it didn't seem to materialise, but then I took it  a bit more slowly than I could have done. I cycle over to Beeley village, then turn round and cycle back up the hill again. I saw a bloke cycling up as I was near the bottom. but I thought as he was wearing Castelli then he'd be quicker than me. Wrong. It wasn't long before I could see him in front of me, so I held back a bit to try not to overtake too near the bottom. He was labouring a bit though so I did a slow pass and ground on to the top. Luckily he didn't retake me.
Legend in my own Mind


Came up to Hartlepool for a few days on Thursday evening and the weather forecast suggested that yesterday morning was my only opportunity to get out on Boardman II, now resident in my mum's garage. Not exactly ideal conditions though with a strong wind blowing from the south due to intensify to 40mph+ by noon-ish. I set off at about 0900.

Fortunately my usual run out from chez mum takes me down along the coast, so I'd have a tailwind on the way back. I thought I'd do the Transporter Bridge and back, as usual.

Really cold, especially with a rather fresh wind in my face along Seaton Carew. On the way down I passed a road I'd never noticed before, signposted 'Coast Path'. I took that for a mile or two. Nicely surfaced but the views were predominantly of rough ground and chemical works. After a mile or so that came to a dead end, effectively - it continued as an unsurfaced path down to the sea - so I turned back and rejoined the usual route. Not a very interesting diversion really but a welcome respite from the oncoming icy blast of the North Sea air.

Got within half a mile (at a guess, I haven't checked) of the Transporter but the crumbly road surface was annoying me so I took another left, along the Seal Sands road. A bigger and busier road than the previous impromptu diversion but a similar story; mostly chemical works and ultimately a dead end. Turned back and went straight over the roundabout for a bit rather than turning right for home. But after a few hundred metres the road started to curve northward, meaning of course that I'd have a headwind again coming back and I'd had enough of that. Did a U turn back to the roundabout and turned for home with the powerful wind behind me. Joy. As an experiment I stopped pedalling for a couple of minutes and did about half a mile purely propelled by residual momentum and the wind, albeit not at any great speed. I sat upright to present the biggest possible profile behind me and actually picked up a bit of speed at one point.

A bit of faffing around once I got back into the town, mostly looking around old haunts, including my old walk home from school (or some of it).

The thought occurs to me that if I ever do that ride up here from Leics, a strong wind from the south or south-east will make life a lot easier.

Nice run out, anyway. 22.97 miles and that's exactly 600.00 this year.


Absolutely shocking weather driving home yesterday with the M1 in Nottinghamshire transformed by biblical rain into a sort of horizontal log flume for cars. I heard this morning that we had about a month's worth of rain over the weekend, which means I suppose that all the flooded roads and standing water will have made a comeback.

Quite a lot of rain and strong wind in the forecast for the rest of the month. But I only need another 106 miles to reach my 'unofficial' target of 350 for Feb.

Sunset at a relatively civilised 17:21 here today; I may have a run out after work.


Today's weather forecast promised a bit of rain in the morning then a dry afternoon, so I planned to leave work early and do about 30. But when I checked it again at about 2pm it had changed its mind, now threatening light rain at 4pm-ish.

So I decided on an extended lunch break ride instead, and set off on Neil at about 3pm. I'd actually decided on the hybrid due to the likelihood of precipitation but I'd put my cycling shoes on before I remembered that it doesn't have clippy pedals any more. FFS.

Anyway - I did a Twycross. A slightly unusual one in that I came back through Ibstock. I didn't fancy Heather Lane much in those conditions.

Took the following pic at Sheepy Magna.

Not too cold. It didn't actually rain save a few cold, sharp spots south of Ibstock, but the roads were running with water here and there and Neil's nether regions were splashed. But he got a bloody good seeing to with GT85 on returning to the garage. I'll have to relube it tomorrow or on Wednesday.

Very blowy. Quite an annoying sidewind from time to time in exposed places. Back about 20 minutes after sunset.

26.18 miles.