Monday, 10 January 2011

First week in January.... done!

After the Christmas excess and the spate of unrelenting bad weather the first week of 2011 was always going to be onerous - finding the opportunity to get out on the bike let alone the necessary willpower to face the elements was, as I expected, something of a drudge. However, somehow I managed 90 miles up to yesterday - even more surprising is that I managed it whilst suffering from 'man-flu' or at least an annoying cold.

Yesterday saw me up at 6.00am determined to brave the icy conditions and cycle to Burton-on-Trent where we had arranged to meet a 'man about a camper van' - This plan was on course; 15 minutes to apply the necessary layers of clothing, thermal vest, T-Shirt, Cycling shirt, reflective vest, two pairs of thermal sock, overshoes, windproof thermal bib-tights, two pairs of gloves, wind stopper headband, thermal buff and finally, helmet (with helmet light - a new toy). Outside then to the garage, get the bike out, - Oh no! - a flat tyre. I stand and stare at it for a few moments, suddenly the idea of getting back into bed seems most appealing, but no, I am reminded that work put in now will make things easier later in the year. Okay, tools out, spare tube and on with the job. I decide to take the wheel into the kitchen to make the tube change, makes sense, no point in freezing outside. I change the innertube then its back outside to the garage where I have a track pump - I pump up the tyre.... it immediately deflates.... now I'm running late - and seriously consider abandoning the plan... No! - I must persevere.... Ok, another tube - I have one more spare.... I do the change again, this time its okay, I look at the one I had installed previously and can see it has a leak along the seam of the tube - must be faulty I assume. At last I think I'm ready - by now it's 7.30 am - still dark and I need to cycle 12 miles to meet Gary - I set out, lights ablaze and head through the lanes toward Barton in the Beans, I notice there's a lot of frost on the back roads, glistening white jewels flickering as the lights of the bike hit them - before I know it I'm off the bike and sliding along the road surface, didn't expect that - didn't think it was quite that bad - I mount up again, no damage done, but looking at the road I begin to wonder whether this is such a good idea, certainly I'll need to curtail any idea of speed. In the end I decide to head back home - I've covered less than 5 miles but any further is going to be risky. A shame but its for the best. Instead I get changed and we make the trip by car

On arrival at Gary's he has a breakfast ready, Bacon, egg and bean - tea and toast - fantastic! - Once we have polished that off we drive to Burton and meet the man with the campervan - it really is ideal, perfect for what we need - we negotiate a price and a provisional date - this to be confirmed over the next day or two - we leave feeling we have made good progress and that it's all suddenly very real!

Later in the afternoon we manage to get out for a decent leg spinner - with the 5 miles from this morning my total was just over 30 miles for the day.

Hopefully we'll be able to confirm dates for the trip in the next posting.

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