Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Big ride, big lessons. The first 100/520

I am in recovery, that tells a story in itself.

On Friday morning at 03:00, I set off from home, just south of Norwich, Norfolk heading for Aberystwyth, Wales. Total distance about 280 miles give or take.

I had been watching the forecast for a week or more. Rain never seemed to feature significantly until after 22:00 on the Friday night, so I figured that one way or another I would either be exhausted and asleep by then or have chosen to break my journey into three sections each of about 180 miles. The biggest headache was going to be the 10-15 mph headwind and so it proved to be.

It was an even 10 deg C when I left home. Cool enough to warrant a warmer jacket over the cycle top without overheating. It was barely dark and certainly light enough to have ridden without lights had it been safe to do so. By 4 it was almost broad daylight.
 I crossed the overflow cut of the Great Ouse in Downham Market as warmth was just about beginning to seep through from the early morning sunshine. The evidence form this picture suggests that there was no wind at all, but trust me, it was there. A constant reminder of the benefits of aero-bars in this flattest of flat landscapes.

The roads were getting a little busy as I approached Peterborough on the Wisbech Road. (An option that I avoided on the way home and would not recommend on a busy day.) Certainly I was glad to be off it, swapping road for cycle path, coming into the Environment City of Britain, though for which year, I can't remember. I'll say one thing though, Peterborough has a myriad of cycle paths that allow safe passage from one side to the other. Trust your satnav. It will spit you out the other end, even if on the way, you are certain you're going to end up in an industrial wasteland.

Rutland Water was my first 100 mile mark and considering the wind, I felt that these figures were reasonable. It is interesting how easily you can fritter away an hour of stopped time. In this case largely taken up enjoying a coffee and cake after about 80 miles. it seems that there is little doubt though, the hare and the tortoise are as relevant as they ever were. Minimising stopped time is critical if you want to cover big miles in a day.

For cruisers, please note the presence of a good cycle path around Rutland, seen here in the picture. It was so full of bicycles though, that I stuck to the road for want of having to avoid getting stuck 'in traffic'. Another day, when I head back there to watch the Ospreys at their nest site maybe, I'll take the slow lane with the boys and enjoy the view.
Alzheimer's Society

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