Swannington – Where Is Thy Sting?

I wanted, ideally, to do another 70 miles in September – which in practice meant today and tomorrow, because the weather looks rubbish on Wednesday.

I decided to do 40 or 50 after work today, then the rest tomorrow. Really nice weather for cycling this afternoon – sunny, low winds and almost warm. I set off at about 16:35, having reluctantly relubed the Boardman at lunchtime. I say reluctantly because I promised myself I’d clean and degrease it properly before lubing it again, and I didn’t. I gave it a cursory wipe and hosed out the chain with GT-85.

Decided to go up along Top Brand to Isley Walton then left to Melbourne, up over Swarkestone Bridge and west along the A road between Derby and the river. I got as far as Hilton then came back the same way. Starting to get quite dim by the time I passed Willington again, and I put a rear light and a front blinker on.

By the time I was going over the Bridge again it was properly dark, and I’d switched on the new equipment I’d brought with me – a chest (and back) lamp. This is a sort of chest strap with a powerful LED light on the front, and a battery pack with a triangular rear light on the rear of a strap that goes over the shoulder. I was really pleased with this – it’s quite comfortable, lightweight and unobtrusive, and the front light is a lot more powerful than I expected – easily good enough to illuminate the road in front quite a long way for cycling. Very handy for putting a bike away in a dark garage, as well. I actually bought it last year but never got round to trying it. Should have taken it on the 200 miler.

It’s quite odd to see a two metre shadow of your handlebars on the road in front, though.

Quite cool after dark. I stopped along Top Brand at a convenient spot for a wee, and it was so atmospheric out there in the inky blackness, next to the woods.

At the roundabout at Peggs Green, about three miles from home, I decided to come back through Swannington rather than Coleorteon. This is a shorter way, but involves a log slog of a climb. I haven’t done it for about three years and I felt sure I’d regret it, but it wasn’t that bad at all.

I listened to the footy on 5 Live. Disappointed that Fulham were tonked. I like Scott Parker but I think they’ll go straight back down again.

My right knee hurts slightly (nothing worrying) so I will give it a day off tomorrow and unless Thursday’s forecast improves, that’s a wrap for September. Today’s 45.94 takes me to 576 done this month. Coming home through Swannington did rob the September total of about 0.7 miles, but it allowed me to close the microwave door on a Tesco ready meal a few minutes sooner.


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