Positive Experiences

As i mentioned in the previous post, cycling provides an unceasing supply of positive experiences. Getting out on the bike makes me feel happy, i leave thoughts of things behind and instead allow the mind to ramble and roam with the bike and across the landscape. today righted the wrongs of the last time i rode my bike on wednesday (when i encountered a total asshole who happened to be on a bike at the time).

i’m sticking to the winter base thing. i’m definitely up on last year where i’m not even sure if i turned a pedal between october 31st and December 20th. I’m attempting to leave myself less to do when it all kicks off again by getting into a routine. today i went out with Ed and Mark. Ed is looking ‘ripped’, he’s spending a lot of time in the gym pumping some serious iron. come the racing season there’s a real danger he might tear his TT bike apart from the effort of riding away from the line, such is the immense torque and strength his hyper-developed muscles will generate. Mark is gradually undergoing a physical transformation by the sound of it, from stacked rugby player to svelte hill-whippet.

We had a great time, 55 miles fixed across north somerset. The route went out via clapton in gordano, along the flats near yatton, before doing some serious climbing to get up on top of the mendips via shipham and charterhouse. in case you were interested, charterhouse is the site of a roman lead mine which was the biggest in the whole roman empire and led to the spanish lead producers complaining at the flood of cheap imports. the land is now known locally as ‘gruffy ground’ because it’s no good for anything. there’s an ingot of roman mendip lead in the british museum.

the top of the mendips is littered with other prehistoric (and more recent) sites; priddy circlesdolebury warren and stanton drew being some of the more famous. i find it vaguely fascinating, it’s as though the past and the present commingle in time and space, at least in my imagination. i can sense the presence of people from a different epoch, occupying the same spaces and looking at the same eerily beautiful landscape, out across the bristol channel towards wales and down across the levels. there are three burial mounds near charterhouse – we stumbled across them after the long climb from the flats up to tyning’s farm. it’s odd to think that they held such significance for the people who built them, but now merit barely a look from the passer by.

Ed near Failand

i felt really strong today. it’s because i had two rest days this week after a fairly big block of miles. never underestimate the importance of rest. i felt strong all day and rode on the front pretty much the entire time. it was good to be tapping out the rhythm and dragging the boys around. in fact, it was one of those great days where i thought i was going to feel rubbish but the opposite transpired. ed and mark were also strong and we extended the ride a bit to take in the big climb.

riding on the front. dragging the boys along.

the lanes were absolutely disgusting, filthy and muddy, soaking wet. my bike looks vile. i might clean it at some point. it was a proper winter lanes ride; ed made a tactical error by wearing too much white kit. looks good, but rapidly loses its lustre when covered in fresh friesan cowshit.

the filth and the fury

tomorrow is the club dinner. it’s hard to explain just how excited I am. i don’t think i’m going to be able to sleep. i have been excited about it for nearly 8 weeks. i think i might be due to pick up 6 trophies so i am not riding. it’s a high point for team douchbag, i think graham and steve are due two trophies apiece.  i will doubtless try and capture the glory and suffering in a blog post tomorrow, you lucky lucky people.

top of the mendips to you


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