Tuesday, 10 May 2011

April (No) Showers

Miles cycled this year: 2191
In 104 Hours burning 76827 Kcal climbing 91930 ft
Most miles in a week (so far) : 187
Weight: Seems about the same 67.7, no movement.

Fuel prices continuing to rise along with dry weather and extending days have encouraged me to do more cycling that is work related. This is both to and from work, and at work.

Well, I haven’t yet got to riding the whole way into work. It’s 26 miles one way, and parts of the journey are on busy A roads. So I continue a few days a week with driving part way and riding the final 11.5 which is far enough to make a difference and not too much extra time. Other days of the week I look to car share, or I have to take the car as I go out of the office to as part of my work. We can though ride our bikes as part of this up to 5 miles, so the days I ride in I see if I can arrange visits to meet people or see things by bike. I do tell them I will be cycling, which is well received, then I say it is the full lycra, which has not yet phased anyone. I have also refined the contents of my tiny 10L rucsac to fit in a pair of shoes, tracksuit bottoms and a top, so that I look less hard core lycra.

Dispite how I felt on the White Horse Challenge, I didn’t stop riding after. I didn’t feel that bad, but I did back off on intensity for the rest of the week. On the Saturday ride I felt fine and managed to stay with the front group a until the very last ‘hill’, or more properly rise in the road. It isn’t a speed pump, it does get you attention, but is really only 250yds long, and I just can’t quite manage to hold on.

There seems to be discussion on the nature, speed and disapline of the Saturday ride, and there is something in this. I feel that I may unilaterally opt to do something different, making my own way to the café, coming back a different, parallel way, and then riding over the hills towards Taunton, then looping back over home. The first part is flat so I plan to ride a brisk pace, and then easy through town, and then all out in the hills. Sunday can then be a recovery ride.

Maybe, if we ever have an AGM, the Saturday ride can be something discussed then.

Saturday the 23rd I also made an attempt to meet up with a group of End to Enders on there way through. If you want to see who is doing the ride put in ~#lejog on twitter and see what you get. Anyway the best laid plans…. The group, including Garath Roulston, (http://journal.garethroulston.co.uk/) had a problem with their van which locked them out, which put them late on the road. I got a text to let me know they were in Taunton, and I headed out to meet them. The problem was they were now on a new route and I was heading out to the old. As a result we missed each other. It was a nice second ride out on the day! I meet with them the next morning and said hello before an easy ride with the locals.

The day of the Royal Wedding dawned and dispite trying, I could find nobody that wanted to ride out. This was disappointing, as I planned to have 9 days of riding 3hours or more every day. I rode out to Glastonbury and turned north. I felt a bit tired, but not too bad. Then the switch in my body said no. It is not a food or motivation thing. It is a subconscious message where by body goes really not keen on this right now. It is a rare event, but I recognise it. I have found that I can carry on, but if I do listen I will pay for it later. I broke the tempo and pottered towards home. As chance would have it I meet a chap on a bike at a junction. He has just looked at his map and was moving off. I started chatting to him. He was 80, and was riding from Cheddar to Weston Zoyland to the battle field there. His wife was watching the wedding so he was out for the day. He had broke his Achilles tendon and could no longer walk distance so had started cycling a year ago. We rode along and chatted, then he realised he was off his route and lost. I took him another way back onto his route, and turned and left him and Chilton Polden. He was riding further in a day then most men half his age would even contemplate. He clearly was nice man. Chapeau.

I decided to rest on Saturday and Sunday.

Monday 2nd May: 51.7miles in 3h15m burning 1930 Kcal climbing 1700 ft

Somerset Levels
Monday my wife went to her Mum’s for the morning, so delaying a start to get some warmth outside I headed north over the levels to the Mendips. I was on my own as if I didn’t fee right I would turn for home. I seemed to be ok, easily climbing, heart rates normal and happy. I headed over to Cheddar and took the road for Shipham. This is a nice steady 10% or so for about a mile, I kept within myself, no pressure, there is the rest of the week to ride for. This is a nice hill to ride, but a bit busy with traffic, and one to avoid when the quarry at the top is open, unless you like meeting lorries both up and down on your hills. I meet maybe 8 cyclists going down, shouting hello at me. I waved and smiled in a ‘this is really easy, you should try it’ way. It is a great descent, being fairly straight and wide, and the surface is not bad. That is provided you don’t come up behind a car, they really can’t go as fast as I can down there.

After Peat Extraction before restoration
At the top of this section it was right and onto Charter House. The climb continues, more shallow, but there. It was a little busier than I expected, but it would appear the banger racing was on a the circuit at the top. The drivers were considerate, including those with the bangers and I waved them past where I could.
If this road were to be blocked it would be 4m cul-de-sac. After 3.5m there was a tree across the road, courtesy of the fresh easterly wind. No one else was around. It looked very recent. There was wire in the road taken down by the tree. OK. Avoid the wire. There was a wood to the right, where the tree had fell from, but no fence. I am not going back. Carrying the bike I pushed through the lower branches and through the edge of the wood and past the tree. I emerged pushing through the branches, much to the surprise of the cars stopped looking at the tree and the wire in the road. The wire appeared to be for telephones, but I decide to tip toe past it. Were off again, cars passing me, we are all waving at the oncoming traffic, which largely ignors us. Hay ho. At the junction I am now the involuntary fount of knowledge on alternative ways to the banger racing which is clearly via Cheddar or Burrington. It is NOT my fault, OK? I make a brake for it head for Priddy, and down Ebbor. It is a cross head wind on the way across the Mendip plain, you can hide behind hedges, but the gaps for the gates will take your front wheel and put it in the opposite ditch if you let it. 

Ebbor, or the hill up from Wooky Hole, is a trial of a climb, it starts hard, stays there and gets harder. Not generally helped by the fact that it is narrow and cars going both way aren’t keen to wait for you on a bike, and then you have to stop whilst they pass each other. It is on the sustrans route. The view from the top is fantastic.

The ride back across the levels is great, tailwind giving me 20mph+ and slowly increasing my appauling average.

Tuesday 3rd May: 60.4miles in 4h20m burning 2199 Kcal climbing 4460 ft

Tuesday was car MOT day, so I put the bike in the car and headed off to my friends garage. I was on the road by 8.45 and had a four hour ride whilst they did an MOT and did some suspension bushes. You may know that I like a target, a place to go to, I am not keen on just riding about. The night before I had spread the map out and got the National Trust and Englsih Heritage books out. It was to be a castle ride. The GPS was broken out and programmed for the bike, the first time since John O’Groats.

Nunney Castle
The day started, sunny, but cool and with a fresh easterly. I started in Wrington and made my way over the A38 heading south east through Blagdon and up onto the Mendip plateau. The average speed is very low, but a quick consultation shows that I have climbed a 1000ft in 30mins, so that’ll be it then. Now it is gentle rolling with a cross head wind as I head south east for Nunney. The castle here is free entry and is a classic square building inside a moat. Very French.
Farleigh Hungerford

North toward Farleigh Hungerford keeping to side roads. This one you drive into and park inside the walls. I ride into the car park which is empty. Both these sites will be worth a visit. It may well be where I ride out and meet Denise and we have a picnic and a wander around.

Onto the main road and onto a side road which says it is a dead end, but my map disagrees and there is plenty of oncoming traffic. All becomes clear when the road goes one way and it is not my way. Bugger. OK, so I trundle half on, half off the bike, ready to walk for the 200yds or so back to normal.

Coming into Hinton Charterhouse there is a PCSO in a police fiesta with a road closed sign. So how closed in the road? There is a car on it’s roof being recovered. I tell her, truthfully I have no idea where I am, and she says if I am sensible I should be able to get by on the pavement. When I get there the car is on it’s roof next to a high wall, with a car beside it. It is not entietly clear how he managed to get it in there upside down, other than a good slide up the road on the roof. There are discussing how to get it out and ignor me as I walk by on the pavement.

Onto Wellow and Peasedown St John, where 30yds on a pavement sees me off the bypass and onto the bypassed road and empty road. On through a network of lanes crossing and avoiding the main roads until the descent to Chew Valley Lake, which looks fuller than the stated 75% full. A climb back up, passing a fellow cyclist and a great descent to the car.

I feel fine, riding to get round, but I am hungry.

Wednesday 4th May

53.7miles in 3h25m burning 1729 Kcal climbing 2200 ft

There is usually a Wednesday ride, and it would appear there are now two. I rode out and meet the group who go to Langport. We took to the lanes back to Taunton, and I came back over the Quantocks back home.

In the evening my voice deepened, and was either late onset of puberty, or something not quite right. I felt fine.

Thursday was election day, so I was up at 5.30am and in my polling station by 6.30. We were there all day and closed the doors at 10pm and home by 11pm. I didn’t feel too bright in the morning, but it was early!

Friday I woke with a sore throat, and stayed in, the cough, head cold and general ill feeling closing in over the day. So it was another weekend off the bike, lying low.

Best action is to rest and use the energy normally used on the bike to speed getting better. Hay ho.


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