There are two things in life which should never be a compromise: your choice of wife, and your choice of Haribo. Having recently been forced (due poor garage stock levels) to purchase the ‘starmix’ and ‘sour monsters’ Haribo I have come to realise there is only room for one sub-type in my life: Tangfastics.
Anyway, enough nonsense. It was another wet and windy ride, but strangely relaxing, and the plan was for the usual 60 mile long route down to Castle Cary, Somerton, Glastonbury, Meare, Wedmore, Cheddar, Shipham, Home. This was to be my last long ride before the JOGLE starts, and I’m now tapering down my training. Just a couple of 20-30mile rides next week and then into the beast itself!
Talking of beasts – which to choose: a badger or a car? Its not a choice you ever want to have to make really but I found myself in that situation as a badger ran out of the bank right at me whist a car was flying towards me in the other direction. Luckily I managed to slip through the gap between both, but it was a little hairy. Saw another badger later on and a couple of foxes.
A good route, reasonably speed, very quick up Burrington Combe:
That voice in my head
Its patient all day
But secretly plotting
It WILL make me pay
Its 8 in the evening
And raining outside
But here comes that feeling
I just HAVE to ride
A simple excuse
A positive ‘NO’
Either would suffice
But I just have to go
Then a strange thing happens
As I climb on the bike
Push one pedal down
And start on my hike
And suddenly its clear
There’s meaning to this
Its my perfect escape
My ultimate bliss
So if you’re tired and stressed
And sitting inside
Just get on your bike
And go for a ride!
Thursday has come to mean a long ride, and a long ride it was – 72 miles in fact. Highlights were the fantastic houses around Compton Pouncefoot and South Cadbury and a bright green dot that followed me along the road in Street. I was a bit perplexed at first until I realised it must be a kid playing with a laser pointer from his room. Had to admire his commitment as it followed me for a good few 100 meters! Another strange moment was a guy pulling alongside me, winding his window down and saying “That’s a bloody bright light you have there son” then driving off. And quite right he was! Reached the pub to meet the Shipham MTB guys and had a quick drink then headed back. The cycle across the top (Mendip Motorway) was a little knackering – I think not only was it a long ride but I also should have got more fuel in me earlier on, as I was running low by the end of it. Here is the route:
Sometimes you just have a good ride. I guess this time it was good because a) it wasn’t lashing it down and b) I hadn’t just had a big fatty meal. The miles just flew by and before I knew it I was in the pub with the Shipham lot with 45 miles under my belt. A quick lemonade, some crisps and banter and back on the road for the last 15 miles home. Amazingly managed to get all the way up Burrington Combe, right to the Mendip Wood Shavings sign in my big ring. Not sure my legs will thank me tomorrow. Here is the route:
It’s a little against normal human instinct to head off cycling into heavy wind and rain but I was resolved to complete a long ride come what may. I calculated a 60 mile route and headed off wondering if I would have to wimp out and ring for a lift half way round. It really was blowing a gale and within 5 miles my shoes were filled with water to the extend where it was spilling out the top on downstrokes! I battled on enjoying the test of my determination to complete the route. Within 10 miles I was soaked through to the skin, but still warm and so it was bearable. Finally after nearly three hours I reached the Miners pub to meet the usual Shipham MTB lot after their ride. Spent an hour or so catching up with the guys then headed home. 61 miles completed.
I was pretty tired today, in fact so tired that I fell asleep in my chair. So much for power napping – I didn’t wake up for a good 30 minutes! Although I was half tempted to not cycle tonight I decided that for that very reason I should. After all, I wont get the choice come September… I went on a very round about route to Chew Valley lake, then to Blagdon lake with a wrong turn that ended up in another loop in-between. Feeling OK I decided to hang a right down to Rickford, Churchill and Shipham then through to Cheddar and up the gorge. I got heckled a bit by some weird group of older people (pot holers) but the trip up the gorge at night is always a pleasure. Total length was 47 miles, and it was a slowish ride due to a fair amount of elevation and a lot of small country back roads.
Honestly, I don’t know why they call it the Glastonbury festival, as Pilton is a fair way from Glastonbury! Still, its always good to cycle by when its on and be amazed at the sheer scale of the thing. The wall-of-china like barriers all around the fields are amazing, and you just cannot imagine you would be able to fit that many cars into a bunch of fields. It is literally a pilgrimage, with people walking from miles around, some people were even skateboarding there. Amazing. So I cycled past and through to Glastonbury then up to Cheddar and to Shipham where I had a drink with the Shipham MTB crew, then cycled back home. Keep forgetting to turn the tracking off when I’m stationary, which doesn’t help! Fixed the slipping cleat (was a loose chainset shaft) and a few other things too. Bike is riding well now.
My new Northwave vertigo pro shoes arrived today, courtesy of the next door neighbour who signed for them yesterday when I was at work. They seem a pretty good fit, so the Look pedals have gone on the bike finally (why can you never find the right allen key when you need it?). I also fixed up something else pretty cool and custom – an auxillary iPhone battery which also runs my light – check it out on the bike page.
To test out the shoes I went for a late night cycle to Shipham and back via Charterhouse. It was a beautiful warm night with a full moon making lights hardly necessary. A Tiger spot works a treat on the road, although you occasionally get a flash for being too bright…
Here was the route I took today, 30 odd miles in a couple of hours: