Nothing Cold Can Stay

I went out on a training ride today. It was my longest ride for a very long time, which isn’t saying all that much – i only break the 20 mile barrier in races. I managed to eke out 45 miles with some uppity climbs and far too much ice. I assumed it wouldn’t be all that icy. i was mistaken.

Dundry Hill, north of the wall

I had to walk a couple of times on account of hazardous icy descents, especially near Butcombe. The average temperature for the entire ride was a balmy 3 degrees. I managed  4,200 feet of climbing, taking in the scenic cols of Dundry, Blagdon, Shipham, Wrington and Belmont, with a 16mph average. Things were looking great on the way out, but the headwind on the way home had me grovelling.

On the plus side there was a huge twitch going on at Chew Valley Lake. Men in khaki fatigues and expensive binoculars lined the walls of the dam. Today’s unusual visitor was an Osprey, circling the lake in a flash of black and white with outstretched talons. The raptor was returning from Africa to Scotland or Scandinavia.

I’ve just about had enough of winter’s icy grip. Steve Douchebag is heading to Ireland in 4 days time for a saddlebag tour – taking the necessary kit for a sub-zero Nordic biathlon probably defeats the purpose of a saddlebag tour. Mike and chums are somewhere out into the wilds of Hereford as a warm-up for their visit to Belgium and return bike ride. I’m sure like most normal cyclists they anticipated maybe being able to use the armwarmers or a nice gilet, as opposed to the full thermal battlegear they are doubtless currently using.

Even the weatherman on the terrorbox the other day referred to the current unseasonal blast as ‘unprecedented’.

Mud on Road

This morning took me out of Bristol to Clapton in Gordano, across the lanes under the M5 to Clevedon, across the flats to Yatton, through Wrington, followed by a long climb up to the top of the Mendips via Shipham and Longbottom, across the Roman lead mines at Charterhouse and then down through Bishop Sutton, skirting the edge of the lake then past the Cove at Stanton Drew before circling back into Bristol via Norton Malreward. I opted for gears because that was what the others would be riding, although in the end i went out on my own because i woke up early. I had an alarm malfunction – it was still set to work time.  By the time base club got moving at 8.30 I’d already done 25 miles. In the end i managed about 50 miles and was home by 10.15.

At 7 o’ clock it was incredibly quiet. I saw no other cyclists and barely any traffic. I saw 2 buzzards, a kestrel, a deer at close quarters, several squirrels and today’s roadkill item of the day was a misshapen rat.

The roads were absolutely filthy after last night’s deluge. I can’t imagine riding without mudguards.


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