Aphids - Full Of Protein, Right?
I was behind in my cycling mileage for this fortnight, and had hardly been on the bike since the Warwick triathlon two weeks ago. Officially, this was a rest period, after doing three sprint triathlons in six weeks. But also, I’d just reached a level of burnout, where I just didn’t want to cycle for a bit.
But that mileage target for the year’s still there, and it’s not going to complete itself.
So my plan was to do 50 or so miles this morning, and then maybe another 60 over the weekend - probably 30 each day. But the weather forecast last night showed heavy rain for the morning, and I really didn’t fancy three hours in the cold shower. So I got up early, and started work at the time I’d have otherwise been on the bike, with the aim of finishing the day’s work just as the sun came out at lunch time.
It didn’t quite pan out like that, and when I set off at 1pm, it was still raining. Wet, cold rain. In fact, after only a mile, I almost turned around, but decided that would be too much like wimping out. Ten miles though . . . that’d be OK in this weather.
At the four mile mark, I sprinted onto a roundabout to avoid having to stop to let a car pass. As I sat back down, transferring my weight from the front to the rear wheel, which then twitched out in a few inches of skid. (Eeeek!)
By the time I reached central Newcastle, it’d stopped raining, and the sun was out . . . maybe I would do that 50 after all. And with the wind from the South West, it’d be a good day to go to Consett - into the wind on the way out, and then a free ride home.
Consett’s quite high up (about 900 ft), and my route took me along the Derwent valley on the A694, through the villages of Rowlands Gill, Hamsterly, Ebchester and Shotley Bridge. This is a long shallow climb of around 250ft in 11 miles (is that really a climb?), through woodland interspersed with fields. The road was drying pretty fast, but under the trees, it was like cycling into a rain forest - mist drifting over the road as the sun warmed the wet leaves, and water dripping off the trees as if it was raining again.
Also under the trees there were millions of greenfly. I’d come out without any glasses on as I’d not have been able to see out of them in the rain. But I really wished that I’d got some on now to keep these pesky bugs out of my eyes. And I lost count of the number that managed to fly into my mouth. In fact, disgusting but true, I even stopped bothering to spit them out after a while. Well, it’s all protein, isn’t is? I’m sure that Gardenmentor has a better way than this of dealing with ‘em though.
At the end of this gentle / level section of road, you have to climb up to Consett - Durham Road is about a mile long, and 600 ft up. Now if you live somewhere where there are real mountains, I’m sure that doesn’t sound too bad. But from where I was sitting, it felt like one of those roads you take up to a ski resort - a road that just keeps going up . . and up . . . and up . . .!
The journey back was great - it’s basically an eleven mile descent, with a three, hundred-ft or so ridges. I was a little nervous about the road down from Sunniside though - it’s moderately steep, with a series of sweeping bends that make it an absolute blast. Except that it’s also through the trees, so I figured rightly that the road would be wet. And I didn’t fancy sliding across the road on my backside and under an on-coming vehicle.
Anyway, there was no need to worry - there’d been enough traffic to create a dry line through most of the turns.
And that’s all - I finally made it to Consett & back.
Along the way, I managed to mess up my hydration (AGAIN), drinking only 1.5 of the 2.25 litres of fluids I took with me. I realised this was a problem when I’d been riding for almost 2 1/2 hours and not had to stop for a pee. Of course, some people we know wouldn’t bother stopping anyway. I’ll never develop that habit - my shoes can smell bad enough as it is (Good luck in your Ironman this weekend Bill!)
Oh, and two miles from home I survived another assassination attempt - a car overtook me on a left hand bend . . . which he apexed, forcing me into the gutter. And they claim that these are ‘accidents’!
- Type: Cycle
- Date: 09/21/2007
- Time: 14:13:13
- Total Time: 3:19:00.00
- Distance: 52.6 miles
- Average Speed: 15.86 mph
- Max Speed: 39 mph
- Average Cadence: 91
- Max Cadence: 128