Monday, January 29, 2007


I've decided that if you're going to be a solipsist, you need a single-minded approach. That is my soul contribution to 2 cent philosophy.

Weather remaining fine, so this past weekend was a chance to do some quality miles and get in some quality drinking. On Saturday I set off early to do some extras before hooking up with the Chippenham group. Alas, we were delayed by two punctures (and I had two before I even left the house). It's just not a good time of year for bike bits.

The bunch grew and then shrank at the end, as people turned off and/or were dropped. With about 10 km to go, the roads make it possible to lift the pace, and it duly happened. I hung back for a bit and tried to tow a few people across to the six in front who were going fairly hard, but whenever we hit a small rise, they couldn't follow. I started chasing, but the six had become two in front with four in bits behind. No point in waiting for the bits, so I went across to the two in front, who were somewhat surprised to see me.

"Do you race?" asked Andy, the bigger bloke.
"I've done a bit," says me.

Anyway, it was good, because the other guy, Will, invited me to ride with him on Sundy. He's an RAF PE instructor and works about 2 hours a week, running a gym in his spare time and riding in his other spare time. He'd also done a bit of racing in Brittany as a young 'un, and was pretty experienced.

We did a really solid 130 km ride through the Mendips: 2000m of climbing at 28km/h average, with a bit of wind. We did three moderately big (3-4 km) climbs, starting with Cheddar Gorge, which is a beautiful climb. Not only is the scenery reminiscent of a small Dolomite, you also get to see mountain goats on the road as you go up. And best of all, the climb gets flatter and flatter towards the top. It might be the venue for the British hill climb championships this year. Cool!

We also did the nastier one out of Wookey Hole, which averages over 8% for 2 km, and finally we went up Barrington Coombe, which is just under 6% for about 4 km. By the time we headed home, my legs were aching, but at least we had a tailwind. But I felt sorry for Will, who had to spend the rest of the day standing around in handbag shops with his girlfriend. That is one thing I don't have to cope with :-)

Will reckoned I should do the Severn Bridge road race in March, 'cos I'd have a decent chance (it's over laps of a hilly circuit). I might, unless it clashes with Het Volk. I'm planning on a Belgian visit then.

That plan was hatched on Saturday night, when I caught up with John for some beers. We ended up at The Bell, and I suggested Duvels. It was all good, and we covered a lot of ground over a fair quantity of beer. I gained some enlightenment, and was able to find closure (of sorts) on Monday.

Holy hell, it's time for University Challenge!


pete said...

So you haven't worn your rainbow jersey out with the cycling clubs yet...? ;-)

Jeff Jones said...

No, not yet :-) It's too bloody cold for thin, short sleeved jerseys.

I have a suspicion that the level of racing here is a bit lower than in Belgium. I'll find out when I actually do some, I guess.