I’m a bit behind with these posts, largely due to another busy week, so apologies in advance. I’d love to be able to claim it’s because I’m spending more time on the bike to and from work and riding harder and faster than ever. The reality is that I’ve been putting off my writing up the blog through laziness.
Last Sunday’s ride was a hill-avoider – a dash out to Windsor and back at a fairly nippy pace along relatively flat roads. It still added up to a 110km round trip so it wasn’t really a short ride. It was wet though. Very wet. And I forgot to pack any waterproof clothing in my pockets.
Working against the time worn principle that what you don’t pack you will need, I foolishly went out in gilet and armwarmers under a very heavy grey sky. I wasn’t entirely awake when I left the house a bit late and had to TT it down to Hampton Court to make sure I wasn’t too late. That bloody well hurt.
Once again the quick boys were out in force and we were soon belting along a route very similar to the London to Windsor ride I did last summer with my mate Stef – him on his Dahon folder comfortably staying with my on my Trek apart from on the more severe up and down bits. I say belting but for most of the club members rolling along at 35km/h was probably a reasonably steady pace. For me it’s probably medium to fast.
Looking at my computer it says my average speed is now up to 26km/h from 23.9km/h three weeks ago. that surely counts as progress of some sort in the right direction – a quick start is going to be key to a good time. Maybe I’ll find I’m blowing bit hard an hour or so in but by them I should have put some distance between me and the wagon balai.
But I took my turn on the front and pushed it along as best I could without dying. Unfortunately, my turn on the front coincided with the only bit that could be described as a hill. I went belting up the first rise and over it just as I was starting to tie up. Then I realised there was another longer rise to come and cursed my stupidity as everyone else came flying by me and I was forced to wrestle the bike up the rest of it.
Having finally got back on at the next stop point we launched onwards to towards Windsor Great Park and the next challange – gravel. Now there’s riding in the wet – it was starting to tip down by this point – and then there’s riding in the wet on an uncertain surface. The pace went down to gentle until we found the hard-topped stuff again but there was enough loose stuff for me to end up with a chip out of my front fork, probably from a loose stone being squeezed off the road.
By Windsor town centre it was bucketing it down and a coffee stop was scrapped in favour of making the return journey. We had been promised a following wind on the way back but it never materialised to my slight annoyance.
More annoying was that I had only cleaned the bike down on Saturday night and it needed another turn in the shower to rinse out the drive train and all the grime. My socks were black t the top with filth so got an approximation of a handwash in the bath with me wearing them like mitts.