Friday, 17 February 2012

Out again!!!

After so much inactivity I've been out two days on the trot! - this time I decided on a longer ride, taking in a visit to my mother in Barton under Needwood - it is an afternoon to escape my desk and computer screen - I must get out and ride; escape into the countryside and be a part of it.

I set off at a pace - pushing a big gear and moving along in excess of 20mph. That lasts for about 100 yards and then the headwind confronts me - suddenly it feels like I'm dragging a builders' bag of rubble. My legs start to burn and my breathing sounds like a blacksmiths bellows - but perforated. I slow to 9mph up the first gentle rise and feel just a smidge despondent.

But at least it's warm; no sun though, there's low lying cloud masking the blue as I make my way towards Measham. The countryside glints with the shimmering guilt of nostalgia, waiting for the return of haystacks, heavy horses and corn dollies. This is distant Albion in the afternoon. In the fields there is machinery that graze like huge dinosaurs - things with retractable arms, grabbers, shovers, cutters, wrappers, sifters, shakers and stereophonic sound and air-con - Sort of Jules Verne meets the Wacky races. But no people and no sign of anything being done - just the mossy fuzz of wheat emerging through the brown earth. The hedge cutters have finished their work and moved on. The strips of hedgerow look pristinely manicured, their horny tips chamfered and ready for a new spurt of growth.

As I pass through Netherseal and on towards Coton in the Elms the sun peeps out to take a look at the fields below. A gentle warmth flows over me as I climb the short hill out of Coton and on towards Walton on Trent. Then there's a smell; a thick, sweet pungent aroma - either someone has dropped a large consignment of French cheese just beyond the hedge or else the farmers here have been muck spreading.

By 3.15 I am at Barton, weaving through traffic calming measures and parked cars, it's been a testing ride, all the way into the wind and my legs can feel the effort. After a couple of hours and some mashed potatos at Mum's I'm on my way back. I have lights but they're not quite needed. The light is still strong enough - it's good to note the days are lengthening rapidly. The fierce hill from Walton tests me again - my legs are burning with the effort and at the top I'm grateful when the road flattens. It's a fast ride now back towards Netherseal - and I stop briefly to click on my lights. As I approach the final few miles the sky is darkening. If you got a piece of white cloth and soaked it in water, then tipped a bottle of indigo ink onto it, so that the ink bled and ran - that would be how the sky looks now - with just a streak of orange light falling onto the dark grey brown earth. The torn edges of violet clouds are almost savage and the sky moves through a darker blue and then grey as the light dies at last. I arrive home having cycled 45 miles - my legs are slightly wobbly - I feel I have pushed myself - just a little.

1 comment: