• Welcome to The National Midday Sun. Please login or sign up.

Cycling - 2

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

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

All the best Jonners. Get out amongst the potholes ASAP
Legend in my own Mind<br /><br />

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

A glorious, warm summer day. I'm on call, doing something else this afternoon and want to reserve my energy for a possible long ride on Monday, but I thought I'd crank out 20 or so before the temperature increases too much. I wore my skimpiest, paper-thin meshy camo top and shorts.

Already I can imagine reading this post again in six months' time and barely being able to imagine the conditions. But actually going out wrapped up in the winter cold and dark has its charm as well. I can do without it for a bit longer, though.

I did a pretty standard truncated Twycrosser. I realised after half a mile or so that I hadn't brought my phone with me so no photos, because I thought I'd press on and take the risk that I'd be called from work. It was unlikely.

And yet I did have two missed work calls when I got back a couple of hours later. Happily they both concerned a problem that I'd already fixed when they called me at 0800 this morning. They sometimes don't quite know what they're doing.

22.70 miles, 241 this month.


Hope they get to the bottom of the problem, and you get it sorted Jonners. 

My local bike store got turned over in the early hours of Friday morning. The thieving scum got away with £40k worth of bikes, mountain bikes and electric ones in the main, but they cost a pretty penny. I doubt they'll even get much for them, as they cut their way into the store with angle grinders and then dragged out the bikes in a very slipshod way, probably ruining the wheels and paintwork in the process. Then a quad bike towing a trailer turned up and the bikes just chucked on. Hope they nail the bastards. The videos showing this have now been taken down, probably due to people accusing the denizens of the local pikey - I mean fine upstanding travellers - camp.

I could have done with an e-bike today, it was bloody warm! On Wednesday evening I'd seen people taking part in a Time Trial. I found the course and thought I'd give it a go today. I kept thinking I wouldn't do it as it was too warm, but I kept on at every opportunity I had to leave the course. What I found was is that I'd have come last. By a long way. Even in my age category I was 12 minutes slower than the person above me. I averaged 15.8 mph, the best on Wednesday averaged 25.8 mph, there are three decent hills on the course to get up.  I suppose I was held back by not wearing a skin suit, an aero helmet and not using my aero wheels...

Still another 50 miles to the tally and I managed over 16 mph for the ride, too hot for anything more.

Legend in my own Mind<br /><br />

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

I've got a bit of a dilemma. I have the day off work tomorrow and want to do a long ride. Ideally I want to do Norfolk and back again, by a shorter route than last time - same endpoint but about 172 miles. The conditions look ideal, with a light wind coming from the east, but - my concern is that the weather might be too warm.

One good thing is that the weather to the east is a couple of degrees cooler tomorrow. If I do do a 172 mile ride the worst of the heat will have passed by the time I ride back into Leics. I shouldn't hit a higher temperature than 25 degrees C, and then only for a couple of hours.

The problem is - if I decide that it's too hot and turn back early, I'll be turning back westward before the afternoon heat has dissipated, and I'd end up in 27 degrees. Tough one.

Clare decided yesterday it would be far too hot for her to do a ride today so suggested I go out with my old mucker, Pete. Pete was one of the two pals I always rode with pre-lockdown and we'd not ridden together for over 12 months. 
We had a great ride, 46 miles, managing a decent pace of 16.8mph. Not as hot as I expected, actually. The pace providing a nice, cooling breeze but when stopped at a junction, it was like being in an oven!
It was really a two-bottle ride but having only one cage, one had to do. We both enjoyed a lovely pint of squash from the fridge, which my wife had the foresight to prepare, when we arrived back home - she's a good 'un!

It was another hot one today. A day for taking it steadily. A lot of it had to be taken steadily as the roads were melting and progress was very sticky. Slightly troubling too as the noise of rubber tyres sticking to molten tar is like a badly adjusted rear derailleur.

Things weren't helped when I had to turn round and go back the  way I'd came. I turned off onto a road to find it had been recently tarred and gritted, only for three hundred yards, but it was not a pleasant experience. A cyclist coming the other way then said there was a lot more of it to come and I'd be better off turning back. Once back over it I had to spend a few minutes scraping all the chippings off which were stuck to my tyres. Can't risk a puncture.

Didn't manage a Fondo today. It was a definite deux bidon day and I ran out at 55 miles.

Legend in my own Mind<br /><br />

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

Attentive readers will remember that I performed a 200 mile bike ride to Norfolk and back, one day last June. I'd been hoping to do a similar ride using a more efficient 170 mile route this year for a while, and yesterday looked like suitable weather for it. It would be uncomfortably hot for a couple of hours in the afternoon, but cooler to the east. I'd be able to wear light clothing all day, which is just what you want on a long ride.

I set off at 04:40. I was actually on call until 08:00. If I'd got a call before 06:00 or so I'd have turned back, if absolutely necessary, to attend to it. If I got one later than that but earlier than 07:30 I'd be stuffed, but I assessed the risk as being very slight. I thought this would probably bother me over the first couple of hours but actually I pretty much forgot about it.

A little bit cooler than I'd have liked first thing in the morning, but not uncomfortable. I really enjoyed myself from the first turn of the cranks. A big contrast to my 200 miler when I was cold and a bit out of sorts for the first 35 miles. But I hadn't slept particularly well if at all that time; this time I did get a few hours of sleep before I sprang out of bed at about 04:00.

Really nice to be out in the open countryside so early in the day. The fields near the river at Zouch were shrouded in ground mist illuminated by the early morning sunlight. Spectacular.

I encountered my first problem a few miles west of Bourne. I'd been ignoring ROAD CLOSED signs for about five miles, assuming that I'd probably be able to sneak past whatever road works were taking place - which is usually the case. However, metal barriers had been placed right across the width of the road. My negotiations with one of the workers at the scene, in charge of a mechanical digger, did not prove fruitful. He wasn't going to let me wrestle the bike through the bush at the edge of the barriers.

So I tracked back, and followed the long, annoying detour along a slow, narrow, extravagantly potholed road to circumnavigate the road works.

Not long after Bourne, I re-acquainted myself with the flat Fenland part of Lincolnshire. Very distinctive part of the country with long, straight roads lined by drainage channels. Deathly quiet, as well. A bit of a post-apocalyptic vibe, somehow reinforced by the blinding sunshine.

My next problem arose not long after I'd stopped to refuel (a cheese sandwich and bottle of fizzy drink) at a shop on the outskirts of Spalding. My Garmin eTrex, to which I'd uploaded a map of the route, stopped working properly. The LCD screen became washed out and unreadable. It's done this once or twice in the past and I'd thought it was probably a firmware bug. It's always corrected itself after a minute. But now it was persistent; unusable. I suspect it's a hardware fault that's provoked by the heat. It had been standing in the sun outside the shop.

I pressed on regardless, hoping to navigate to my endpoint, the Norfolk border east of Sutton Bridge, from memory. This wasn't successful, unfortunately. I took another wrong turn not long after this, and had to resort to using Google Maps on my phone to get back on track. Eventually at Fleet Hargate, about six miles from target, I decided to turn back. I knew I'd have to take the detour near Bourne again and I didn't doubt I'd misnavigate again on the way there at least once (and I did; I missed a turn at Tongue End and continued down to Baston).

The hot sun was merciless for a couple of hours in mid-afternoon, but I knew it would be. Worth it to able to have relative warmth for the last couple of hours after 20:00. I stopped at a village shop at Buckminster and had an egg mayonnaise sandwich, a sausage roll, chocolate ice-cream and another 700ml of fluids. I doubt that this would be considered the best sort of athletic nutrition by a sports dietician, but it works for me.

Despite the detour and navigation errors I'd made better time than I thought I might by the time I was back in familiar territory, west of the A1 so I indulged a deliberate diversion through Hoton, Wymeswold and Rempstone. The last 30 or so of a 150+ mile ride can be harrowing when it's cold and dark, but I remained in good spirits throughout. Warm weather and a late sunset helps a lot. Having a decent rest stop 45 miles from home was invaluable as well, I'm sure. Another thing that kept my spirits buoyant all day was the unusual number of women out and about in tiny shorts, in the various villages and towns. That sort of thing really elevates my mood. I'm sorry. It just does.

Although my Garmin eTrex let me down, my solar-assisted Garmin Instinct GPS watch performed like a champ - it still had 36% of juice left (about ten hours) after tracking the ride for eighteen hours. Brilliant to have an unobtrusive, lightweight GPS device that can be trusted to track the longest ride. Even in dull conditions I believe I could get 200 miles from it.

I listened to an entertaining, and encouragingly civil discussion between Alastair Campbell and Peter Hitchens, about the easing of the COVID restrictions on Naga Munchetty's 5 Live show.  One is as congenitally dishonest as the other is barking mad, it seems to me. This was of course "Freedom Day", a term I personally dislike quite a bit because it has been taken to heart by people of a certain persuasion as a sort of clarion call for their right, as they see it, to pretend that life should go on as if the virus no longer existed.

I also finished off my audiobook, Pushing Ice. Having consumed the whole thing now I must say it's an ultimately unsatisfying product. The payoff doesn't quite work and it's much too self-indulgent and rambling. It's a bit like a really good sci-fi novel, a decent sequel and a pretty incoherent, dead-horse-flogging second sequel all crammed into the same book. That said, there are some amazing ideas in there, really mind-expanding stuff. And some dark comedy. I love the description of the Musk Dogs, a highly factional, alien species, each of which resembles "two or three scabby street dogs fighting over a scrap of meat; an unruly mass of mismatched limbs .. too many packed eyes above a toothsome black muzzle". Unfortunately they work quite well as a metaphor for the book.

My knees were hurting a bit after 150 miles but definitely not as much as last time I did that many, last year. Still improving. No worries.

Anyway - frustrating that I didn't quite make my intended destination - I'd been looking forward to spending a few minutes looking over the River Nene. But a good run out nonetheless. 172 miles.


Well done Slim. You might not have made your intended destination but that's a seriously impressive distance! Dont think i could ever reach that sort of mileage. I havent even done a fondo since 2018 and I find the thought of one quite daunting
When the truth offends we lie and lie until we can longer remember it is even there. But it is still there. Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later, that debt is repaid

I think you'd be pleasantly surprised.  Just take it easy and keep going for 100km! Have a couple of rest stops and take a few snacks. Oat bars, sausage rolls, whatever. They make a big difference.

A few years ago I was slightly daunted by the thought of doing the 30-odd miles to Derby and back. It seemed a lot at the time.

Don't think I've even got to 65 miles on a ride this year :( I can never find more than about four hours to spare.

Had a Dragonfly smash into my helmet tonight. I was just winding up to 40 mph downhill, looked up and saw this thing coming at me then it slammed into my helmet. Luckily it wasn't at mouth level.
Legend in my own Mind<br /><br />

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

At the river, or canal or whatever it is where I stopped to take the second pic, I counted at least a dozen bright blue dragonflies skimming the water below. I had a wee in the water from the bridge. Oddly satisfying. There was no-one for miles.

Good cycling tale, and a serious effort.

It is all about the fuelling and finding a cadence/pace that suits you.

Good tarmac helps as well, I found the longer rides in majorca to be much more pleasurable than those in the UK
The new songs are an abomination

Nice one Slim.

Wanted to do 20 or so while the weather's still nice. But although I stopped work early, I left it until abut 18:30 before setting off, to give the heat out there a chance to dissipate a bit. I did a Twycross Bypasser.

Glorious out there, especially in the last hour before sunset. I was tempted to stop at San Giovanni for a cheeky outdoor margarita, but I didn't have a front light with me and I'd already extended the ride a bit by doing the Warton extension to the west.

Forgot to take a DAB personal or MP3 player with me, but I didn't really miss the in-flight entertainment. I did have my phone, but no earbuds.

Lovely view of the sun as a dark orange ball above the horizon a few minutes before sunset. Of course I only looked at it very briefly.

Back a couple of minutes after it had gone down on 29.80 miles, and that takes me to 443 this month, 2901 this year. I'm sure there's time for another 100 before the end of July.