Monday, 8 November 2010

Bells and Bikes....

The autumn malaise is an insidious disease that infects many cyclists, whether you are a racer or a weekend warrior, it sucks the hard-earned fitness from your legs, heart and lungs, it leaves you feeling sluggish and soft... slow and dreary.
I have had this feeling all week - burdened with the day to day distraction of work deadlines plus the inclement weather I hadn't been out for a week.

Saturday was bright but with a faint chill in the air - it would have been a good morning for a ride, however Gary and I had other commitments - we were scheduled for bellringing at Netherseal Church - ringing a quarter peal of Bob Doubles, 6 bell band with me on the treble, bell 1, and Gary ringing the tenor bell 6 - 45 minutes or so non-stop - it needed total focus and concentration - thankfully we had the expert guidance of John Heaton from Derby Cathedral to guide us and point us in the right direction should our attentiveness waver. It did and he did, so that we were able to complete the tricky task - I was amazed how quickly the time passed - it felt like only ten minutes to me - that's only my second quarter, but my first on the leading bell. A good start to the weekend then.

At 8.00am on Sunday morning I peered out and was greeted by a glorious morning. Bright sun, clear sky and calmness - no excuses today. On with the gear.

I venture out and quickly realise it's colder than it looked from inside, back inside then for thicker gloves, an extra T-shirt and a buff to go round my neck. Then I'm off - heading for The Odd House at Newton Burgoland to meet with Gary. I move at a reasonable pace, it feels good, but no climbs yet! The morning cold stabs at my eyes and claws at my ears - extremeties are feeling it - hands and feet are uncomfortable - I think it will get better once I expose them to some sun - after all it's not freezing!

I meet with Gaz and we pedal to Shackerstone, nice comfortable pace, the sun is doing its job now and I've warmed up a bit. We continue through Congerstone and up toward Market Bosworth, following the Sustran Cycle Path past the Yachting Lake to Far Coton and then through some lovely scenic lanes and villages to Daddlington. We loop back over a couple of canal bridges and head for Sutton Cheney, then on to Cadeby - by now its quite warm while we're pedalling, we try a couple of faster bursts to get the heart rate up and soon we are back in Market Bosworth. We head through town and back to Congerstone turning left and heading to Bilstone and Twycross. We pause to take a photo (herewith) as we start off again we are overtaken by a couple of serious looking racers, the first one is moving fast, up on the pedals, he's flying up the long drag that faces us. The second is riding a specialist Time Trial bike, carbon framed, very aerodynamic and he's got aero handle bars as well - he looks the part but he isn't moving as easily as the first guy - in fact we catch him as he struggles to push himself up the hill - turns out he is a triathlete, he's already swum a mile and run 10K this morning - now he's on a 30K bike ride and then he'll be done for the day!

We leave him and his mate at the top of the hill, we head back to Snarestone, this is a fast road, a good surface and not too busy on this fine Sunday morning - we blast it - hard as possible for a mile or two, soon the legs are burning with the build up of lactic acid, it's hurting now and weakness overcomes the previous feeling of strength! - We take it easy for the last half mile to Snarestone, and up the next hill back towards the Odd House.

It was blissful riding in the main - we thought that if this was one of the stages on LeJog we would have covered 50 miles by midday - easy on for the 100 in the day. It suddenly felt good.

Total mileage 48

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