Cycling - 2

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

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Slim

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.
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.

Nïckslïkk2112

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.

https://www.strava.com/activities/3083165287
Legend in my own Mind<br /><br />

Not enough war
Not enough famine
Not enough suffering
Not enough natural selection

Slim

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.

https://www.strava.com/activities/3098622581
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.

Slim

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.
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.

Slim

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.

https://www.strava.com/activities/3108382629


26.18 miles.
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.

Slim

The plan was to have another day off cycling today, and do 50 or 60 miles tomorrow. But the forecast changed to rain and 40mph winds for tomorrow, so since this afternoon was relatively dry, I left work early with thoughts of doing 25 or so. I took the hybrid.

Unsurprisingly, there's a lot of standing water around, though it hasn't rained today. I did a sort of sub-Twycross. I'd had enough of the strong sidewind by the time I got near Twycross. I'd literally been blown sideways onto the grass verge at one point. So I took a left at Little Twycross, after which it became a tailwind and I started to enjoy myself a bit. So I extended my ride by continuing across to Ibstock to hang onto the tailwind for a while, and came home that way. Back just after sunset.

About a second after I took this pic at the "unmanned unodourised gas station" just outside Twycross, a gust of wind blew a glove from where I'd perched it on the bike, through the gate. So I had to defy the "no unauthorised persons" sign and climb over to retrieve it.



21.81, which takes me to within 7 miles of this months "adjusted" target, which is 299. But I hope I can do another 60 or so at least. The weather forecast looks hostile, however.

https://www.strava.com/activities/3119659029
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.

Nïckslïkk2112

Had a few days off this week with the intention of getting some cycling done. Didn't quite work out as planned.

Gave the bike a good clean on Wednesday morning and put a new chain on. It then rained all afternoon. Got nowhere.

Managed to get out on Thursday afternoon once it cleared up, it was actually quite nice. Apart from the wind. And the occasional hail - I wondered why I could hear a "tinging" sound, it was the hail hitting my little bell. 36 miles done.

Yesterday I got up with the intention of going out in the morning, it was supposed to be dry but getting windier, with a wet afternoon getting windier still. It was raining when I got up. Got out eventually, it was windy. Then afternoon then stayed dry - it did get windier though. 25 miles done.

Managed to get out this afternoon. It was windy. Very windy at times. It did get a bit less windier. I set very slow times up today's hills - windy, although hill 2 should have had the wind behind me. Set some quick times coming back downhill though! Only saw once cyclist all afternoon. The roads I cycled in the Peak are normally full of cyclists. Wind must have put them off I guess. 45 miles done.
Legend in my own Mind<br /><br />

Not enough war
Not enough famine
Not enough suffering
Not enough natural selection

Slim

Was tempted to do 25 or so yesterday. No rain, very windy. I've been out in worse conditions certainly but I decided against it. Cycling is a bit like alcohol. Make sure you're in charge of the bike, not the other way round. Keep it fun.

Instead I had a think about the logistics of doing a 100 miler, when conditions and circumstances allow. One approach might be to think what might be the 100 mile route from my garage door with the minimum possible elevation gain. Of course it would have to be a reasonably linear route, no cheating by doing multiple laps of convenient flat bits.

To this end I conducted an exercise with the Strava route planner. As some readers will be aware, it has a 'minimum elevation' function which purports to find the flattest route between two points. Now as it happens the routes it finds tend to be fairly rubbish, sometimes including sections of track that a reasonably sane off-road cyclist would think twice about.

However I conducted an exercise that I thought might be instructive nonetheless. What I did was this: I dropped the destination pin at 8 points on the route planner map, each roughly 50 miles from base - north, north-east, east, south-east .. and so on. I was interested to see which direction required the least climbing, and by how much.

The results are as follows (in feet):

N1694
NE554
E1567
SE1382
S1012
SW1311
W903
NW1111



Now of course the route wouldn't have to be a straight line. Nothing wrong with a slightly L-shaped or jagged route. Furthermore elevation is not the only critical factor - the quality of road surfaces is quite important as well, for example. But it is a pretty important consideration. 

So I think the results are quite interesting. There's a sort of corridor of flatness extending to the north-east from Chez Slim, roughly following the River Severn.


Might go out for a couple of hours later today.
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.

Slim

I had no firm intention of cycling today, but after a rainy morning the afternoon brightened up considerably. So off I went. I decided to do a Twycrosser - there's just something joyous about riding over that way with footy on 5 Live, and United were playing Watford in the commentary game.



The roads were rather wet though, so I took the hybrid again. I wanted to do about 30, which would take me through my monthly target, and also get me within an easy ride of hitting 350 for the month.

I actually bypassed Twycross completely by taking the larger detour through Norton and Orton. Really lovely along there in the sunshine, with views of Staffordshire for miles.




Just as I approached Sheepy an oncoming cyclist stopped me to warn me that if I intended to go straight over at the next T junction, the road ahead of me was flooded. He'd pedalled straight through it and got his cycling shoes wet. I had no intention of doing this in the first place - it's not called Watery Lane for nothing and it's muddy at the best of times - but I did go over to have a look.




Annoyingly I dropped my right glove seconds before taking that last pic; it landed in a shallow puddle and my hand was damp and cold for the rest of the ride. Apart from that though I was warm enough until the last 45 mins or so of the ride, when the temperature dropped markedly.

Windy again today, and I had to struggle against a strong headwind when heading westward. I did really enjoy myself though.

I used my old Forerunner 310 to track the ride, and annoyingly it switched itself off along Fenn Lanes. I'd already noticed that my phone battery was on 6% when I'd taken one of the pics, so using the phone to track the rest of the ride wasn't an option. So I synthesised the missing part and uploaded to Strava in two chunks:

https://www.strava.com/activities/3126093742

https://www.strava.com/activities/3126258098

38.66 and that's 687 this year, 331 this month.
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.

Slim

The weather forecast changed a couple of times today but by mid afternoon it was threatening light rain for an hour or two. I had a feeling that it wouldn't actually rain though, and I was right. I took the hybrid out at about 3:45pm.

I did a Twycross with the same detour via Orton as the last one. It's an increasingly popular item in my repertoire; I shall know it henceforth as the Twycross Bypasser. This was a shorter version than I did last time though, without the deviation up to Packington over the first few miles. I came back through Heather rather than Ibstock, as well.

The right turn from the crossroads near Orton has a really long, steep descent down a quiet road and I was tempted to take it, for fun - but of course in cycling, what goes down must also come up, at least if you intend to finish where you started.

Wanted to do about 25 to hike the monthly mile tally over 350, and I did 25.58. That's 712 this year, 357 this month. Happy to have done that as the weather for the rest of the month looks rough.

Cold, but sunny. Back just in time, well after sunset and I only had flashy blinkers on the bike - but there was still enough light to see the road in front of me when I pulled up at the garage door.

Lots of dead badgers around at the moment, sadly. Noticed another dead mouse in the garage. As always - quick.


https://www.strava.com/activities/3134538709
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.

Nïckslïkk2112

Having made sure I ticked off February's Strava climbing challenge last Sunday, I needn't have worried as I would have knocked it off today. 

Once again strong winds were forecast for the afternoon, but storm Horhay was a bit of a damp squib on that front as it was one of the least windy cycling days I've had of late. It was still windy, but never "Why am I doing this?" windy, although it did pick up a bit towards the end.

That finishes off February, with 341 miles done, as against 428 last year. This Saturday last year I managed my first good ride out into the Peaks with an ascent of the Abney hill climb. Couldn't manage that this year - the road past Abney got washed away at the end of last year...

https://www.strava.com/activities/3142459000/
Legend in my own Mind<br /><br />

Not enough war
Not enough famine
Not enough suffering
Not enough natural selection

Nïckslïkk2112

Managed to get March underway with a 45 miler this afternoon. It was windy for a change. It's funny how a headwind which slowed my progress up the Col de Wigley didn't seem to become a tailwind when climbing up Froggatt later. Ho-hum.

https://www.strava.com/activities/3145949653/
Legend in my own Mind<br /><br />

Not enough war
Not enough famine
Not enough suffering
Not enough natural selection

Slim

March 02, 2020, 19:43:24 pm #3762 Last Edit: March 02, 2020, 19:47:29 pm by Slim
I was on call yesterday, but with no rain in the forecast I hoped to do a Fondo. In the past while on call I've done these by contriving a sort of orbital route that doesn't stray too far from home, but this time I decided to take my chances. After all, I've been called out on a Saturday very few times over the years, and and statistically the odds of getting caught out are quite low.

With an immoderate wind blowing toward the east, I decided to head west to get the headwind over in the first part of the ride. I plotted a route that would take me over that way via the usual route - I call it the "Wales" route although I usually only do the first 30 or so miles then come back - but I also planned a detour via Austrey, so that I could take in the ski slope descent from the crossroads near there that I'd seen a few times on the Orton detour of the Twycrosser.

I set off 10:20, a bit later than I intended but with more than enough daylight left. I took the Tricross, since my route would take me over some rough road surfaces near and over the Staffordshire border. I must admit I felt slightly self-conscious wearing a camo hijab as I greeted my neighbour who was washing his car at the time. But it looked a lot less conspicuous once I had a helmet on over it.

The descent down the ski slope road from the crossroads was a lot of fun. But the road from there through Austrey to No Man's Heath was really nice - odd that I've cycled more than 20,000 miles round these parts this last few years without taking in a nice road that's not much more than ten miles from home. I guess it shows that humans are creatures of habit, or perhaps it's just me.

I continued on from No Man's Heath through Clifton Campville as I normally would. But about 17 or 18 miles into the ride, I realised I'd taken a wrong turn. I kept going for a bit regardless enjoying the new scenery, but stopped at a bench to consult Google Maps and find my way back to the planned route out west. But the backlight on my phone appeared to be broken - it was extremely dim, to the point of being unusable.

Oh well! I kept going anyway, until I found myself in Tamworth. Here I saw a road sign to Alrewas, which was on the route I'd intended to take, so - I took the required sharp right, and ploughed on along the A513. About a mile later though, I came across a road to the left marked 'Coton Lane'. This looked a lot quieter and generally more suitable for cycling than the A road I was on, so I took it, in the hope, or expectation that it would lead to Coton in the Elms, another familiar place. It didn't. But I decided to stick with it in the hope that I'd find a useful road sign. I was really enjoying myself at this point, I must say. I'd already been rained on a couple of times, but I was exploring new roads and I had a proper adventure on my hands. I was enjoying some really lovely scenery as well; my only regret was that I couldn't operate my phone to take some pics.

I didn't find a useful road sign. Eventually I found myself in the nether regions of Lichfield, having done 29 miles - so I decided to turn back, and try to follow the same way home. But after another half hour I was lost again. I was heading right into Tamworth city centre, and I hadn't been that way on the outbound part. I blundered on, trying to find my way by intuition until I found myself crossing the same picturesque bridge over the Tame that I'd been over about half an hour, and five miles earlier. I was going round in circles. Or at least, I'd done one unnecessary circle. So when the roundabout up ahead loomed into view again, this time I went straight over, instead of turning right - which is what I should have done the previous time. I found myself back at the A513 again a few minutes later so I continued north on it, back on the road to Alrewas.

I'd done more than 40 miles by this time and I'd convinced myself that I wasn't going to be home on much less than 75 - Alrewas was still a considerable distance away, and an even more considerable distance from home - but after a couple of miles, I came upon a right turn to Clifton Campville, only 4.5 miles away!  I was half tempted to keep going to Alrewas, but my characteristic wisdom and good judgement got the better of my adventurous side and I turned for Clifton. I was on call, after all.

I must admit, the realisation that I was actually not that far from home did burst my bubble, a bit. If I'd gone directly home from there, I wouldn't even have done 60 miles. So at the big roundabout over the M42 I kept straight on for Measham, then turned down to Swepstone. From there I looped round up through Packington and came back along Alton Hill. Home on 65.20 miles.

Stopped at a bench about 15 miles from home during an overcast moment and by squinting carefully, managed to operate the phone sufficiently well to organise a Facebook update and take a pic. Not a very interesting scene, and it would have been nice to have captured some views of the rivers I crossed, but at least I got one. And here it is.



Quite an unforgettable run out, really. I was too idle to set up the eTrex, and yet the fact that I got lost and ended up having to navigate by road signs due to an unserviceable phone made it a lot more fun. Perhaps there's a lesson there; technology isn't always the answer.

Very changeable weather - partly cloudy, partly sunny, a few rain showers and even torrential hail for a few minutes. Lovely and spring-like when the sun was out though. The roads were often very wet. Had to give Neil a thorough wipe down in the garage.

No particularly interesting wildlife. A couple of very large, dead Canada Geese by the side of the road near No Man's Heath. Looked to me as though a predator had got them. I highly doubt they'd fought each other to the death and I don't think they'd been hit by a car. Parts of the country are infested with them; can't help thinking the solution is to hunt and eat them. There must be a lot of meat on those buggers.

Had a closer look at the phone when I got home and it turned out that the screen brightness was turned right down in the settings. How, I have no idea. Perhaps some secret hotkey function invoked by random accidental button presses.

Glad to have done a Fondo on the first of the month, again. In fact that single ride fulfilled three Strava challenges - the March Gran Fondo, the March Long Day and the Le Col 110km challenge.

I'll definitely try to introduce elements of that ride into some new routes. More coherent ones than that one.

https://www.strava.com/activities/3145940337
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.

Nïckslïkk2112

Having been a tad slack so far this year, I decided to get my first 50 miler in today, lots of daylight and the wind had dropped - allegedly. No such luck, once I got a couple of hundred feet above home level the wind really kicked in. Going up Loads Road was just eternal soul torture. I only kept going by reciting the manta "Just keep turning" to the melody of Suzanne Vega's Tom's Diner

Then after passing through Hassop - furthest point from home - the rear tyre didn't sound right. I put this down to the state of the roads as they are truly shocking, but it appeared I had a slow puncture. Tyre got pumped up, it seemed to hold air. Slow puncture then got quicker. Resigning myself to a roadside inner-tube change I noticed the rear tyre had a red liquid on it in places. WTF is that? I looked at my thumb and I'd somehow sliced into the thumb end and blood was pissing out. Bugger that for a game of Soldiers, I called up Mrs S to rescue me. Luckily I wasn't too far from a road which she knew, so I had a bit of a bike push before the Cavalry ride.

So, no eating into the deficit in miles ridden on last year, in fact it's widened :(

https://www.strava.com/activities/3162962094/
Legend in my own Mind<br /><br />

Not enough war
Not enough famine
Not enough suffering
Not enough natural selection

Slim

The weather has been mostly dismal this month, and up to yesterday I'd only had a chance to get out on a bike once in March. But the weather forecast was promising for Saturday. I checked it carefully on Friday - no rain was forecast for the whole day, with a moderate wind blowing from the south. That would normally suggest a run out down south of course, but unusually, I bothered to check the weather to the south, and it turned out that it was due to rain a bit further down. By Friday night the weather boffins had decided that it would rain round these parts as well, but interestingly no rain was forecast west of Chez Moi. So I decided a trip out west was in order.

I thought it might be fun to repeat part of the old Wales route, as far as Stone - I hadn't been much further than 20 miles along that route since I did Wales and back in 2017. Stone is 42 miles from here. If I got up early enough, I'd go a bit further.

I did get up early enough, and had mounted the Boardman by 07:30. It was cold. I'd wrapped up warm with overshoes and two pairs of gloves, but I was not comfortable. Still - as I always say, I don't choose to do these things because they're easy.

I like this route. Large stretches of it are pleasantly flat and the scenery is pleasant. There's a stretch of dual carriageway in an industrial landscape at Rugeley, but even that is quite pleasant in its own way. It's not usually busy.

I stopped at the same shop at a village called Sandon where I'd stopped on the Wales trip in May 2017. I chatted to the lady behind the counter, who - it turned out - had just bought it. She wanted to know how many miles I'd done. She was impressed that I'd done 38 miles and even more so when I told her that I'd have to do at least another 38 to get home. For non-cyclists the thought of doing more than 10 miles or so on a bike can seem like an achievement, but it's easier than it sounds.

I refuelled at the bench outside her shop, then pressed on another three or four miles, to Stone. My intention was to continue on along the Wales route for another 7 or 8 miles, then turn back so that I'd clock up 100 on returning home. I'd managed to reach Stone without recourse to Google Maps thus far, but I took a wrong turn out of the town, along the A520. I realised I'd done this fairly quickly but wasn't really bothered - 7 or 8 miles in any direction would do, and I was exploring a bit of new territory. This started to feel like a bit of a mistake before long, though - the A520 north of Stone is quite an interesting, twisty road that snakes through woods, reminiscent of the Lake District - but the road surface was wretched; rough and crumbly - and it was quite hilly as well. After a mile or so I decided I'd find a landmark to turn back from, but fortunately the road emerged into flatter, open territory and improved quite a bit. I pressed on and a few miles later, found myself on the outskirts of Stoke on Trent!



I still hadn't clocked up the requisite 50 miles, so I kept on keepin' on. But as I penetrated Stoke, I found myself descending a series of steep-ish inclines. I'd already given myself a bit of a climb to come back and didn't fancy making it worse, so I turned at a roundabout on 48 miles.

Back at Stone, I took a wrong turn again - this time because I was in the wrong lane at a roundabout. But since I had to add a few miles anyway I thought I'd see where it went, for a bit. I stopped at a Travelodge, then consulted Google Maps for the first time. I'd been entertaining the idea of a detour via Stafford Bingley Hall on the way back but the road I was on didn't seem too promising so I turned back to the main route.

A few miles later, south of Sandon, I noticed a regular bump-bump-bump - almost as if I was riding over a road with little speed bumps. This seemed odd, as the road surface looked fine. I disregarded it and didn't notice it again until a few miles later. I stopped, and examined both wheels. The rear tyre had a slight, but noticeable bulge - it actually looked slightly twisted. I'd inflated both tyres to 100psi before setting off, and clearly the rear one didn't like it. To be fair I knew it was on its way out anyway - it was starting to look a bit worn out, and if I'd been a bit more diligent I would have checked it properly a day or two before attempting a long ride, and changed it.

I let a bit of air out, and that seemed to help a bit. I was still about 35 miles from home. The clockwork 'bump' from the rear was only noticeable on smoother surfaces. I decided to take the quickest route home without a Stafford detour, take it easy (or even easier) and it got me home OK, although I could have done without the added anxiety, of course. I'll be changing both front and rear on the Boardman, possibly later today. They've both had a remarkable innings.

I took a wrong turn coming home after Croxall. Realised what I'd done when I found myself going along a picturesque road into Walton Wood, which I'd never seen before. Really nice along there, will try to include it in a future ride. So I came home through Coton and Measham instead of Clifton and Appleby.  Probably a nicer route anyway and I'd guess that I'd preferred the Clifton / Appleby alternative due to the elevation numbers.

I'd didn't rain all day, either on my ride or at home. The temperature climbed nicely during the day, and I had to take one layer of gloves off. I was actually a bit too warm by 2pm. Generally a bright day, the wind wasn't troublesome, the roads were mostly dry and the sun came out a few times as well - including over the last 20 minutes of the ride, just before sunset. The wind picked up over the last mile, which was nice as it helped to blow me home.

My knees were a little sore by the end of the ride but nothing drastic and they feel OK this morning. Very happy to have done a 100 miler again; it's been nearly two years. I am going to attempt Wales and Back again in a few weeks if weather and circumstances permit. Probably on the Cannondale. And I'm faintly hopeful that I might just manage that 200 miles up to Hartlepool. We'll see.


100.54 miles, 166 this month.

https://www.strava.com/activities/3163203391
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.