Eastwell Fondo

Lovely summer weather and I thought I’d have a crack at a Fondo today. Decided to head out east using the new route that bypasses the old route via Normanton, Stanford then Burton on the Wolds, before rejoining it at Six Hills – but this time I’d go further along to a village called Eastwell, which has a very serviceable bench and used to be my last rest spot before Belvoir Castle and Lincolnshire.

I’d planned to take the S Works but when I got to the garage, I remembered that it only has a single bottle cage. I’d brought a dummy bottle ‘pod’ with me containing a gel, small pork pies and an oat bar. So I shrugged my shoulders and readied the X instead. But after a minute I chastised myself for being idle, and fitted a second bottle cage to the S Works. I used two nylon nuts as spacers to prevent the bottle cage rubbing the frame. Possibly being a bit precious, there.

Set off at 09:18. Feeling a bit cool at first in lightweight clothing but not too uncomfortable and I knew I’d be too warm later anyway. Took the lower elevation, shorter and partially urban route to Belton for the first six miles, through Coalville and Whitwick.

And I was having a splendid time listening to a discussion about Brexit on Adrian Chiles’ 5 Live programme, interspersed with occasional bad news from Headingley, when on the 25 mile mark along Six Hills Lane I noticed that my right shoe was slopping about in the pedal slightly. So I stopped to check, and yep – the cleat was loose. All three bolts were present and correct but all three had worked themselves slightly loose.

Naturally, I didn’t have an Allen key on me. I parked the bike up against a signpost, sat on the grass verge and managed to tighten them back down with the tip of my thumb. Well, “tighten” is not really the appropriate word there. I screwed them in but clearly they weren’t very tight and I was sure they’d work themselves free over a few miles. The cleat started shifting back and forth again after another two miles. I kept going for a bit, until I was just 5 miles from Eastwell and thumb-turned them in again.

Stopped at the bench there, having done 31.5 miles. I found a small stone under the bench that looked like it might give a bit more leverage in the hex sockets of the cleat bolts, and it did. I managed to get them a bit tighter then after a gel and a pork pie, turned for home.

Sadly my caveman stone tool repair wasn’t that successful and I felt the cleat come a bit loose again three or four miles later. But I was fairly confident by now that the bolts wouldn’t work themselves completely loose and I wasn’t having any difficulty pedalling, so I relaxed a bit and got on with it. I stopped and thumb-tightened them again every seven miles or so.

Stopped at the Greyhound at Burton on the Wolds and fuelled up with San Miguel and a Brie & red pepper Ciabatta with chips. I was slightly irritated by a bloke sitting a few feet behind me with his mate, who had what I call Fucking Tourettes. Now I don’t mind swearing, in fact I do it myself quite regularly. But it should be used for emphasis, not like punctuation. This poor bloke couldn’t get five words out without one of them being “fucking”, very few of these instances contributing anything to the meaning of what he was saying.

Knees started to feel a bit tender after 55 miles or so, and I think I can call that progress. The right one especially is a bit sore now. But it will get rested tomorrow and it probably won’t do more than 30 on Sunday.

I edited the track to remove the section where I was walking around the pub car park before uploading to Strava and noticed a bizarre anomaly – the Garmin watch had recorded two track points more than 1km off the actual track, and a straight line of track points at a perpendicular to it. Strange. I edited that out as well, but this is from the original track:

63.7 miles. I hope to do a Fondo every month going forward from now on. 385 this month.


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