I was going to do at least the regulation 62.14 miles to achieve Fondo status for my ride today, but thought I’d probably do more. I’ve devised a new route to get over to Norfolk, should I do that again some time – and I think I probably will – and I wanted to try part of that out. The new route is largely north of the old Norfolk route. Rather than going through Melton Mowbray, it takes the usual route out east nearly as far as Eastwell – then takes a 90 degree right turn before curving eastward and into Lincolnshire.
This has the advantage firstly that the first 31 miles are very familiar to me, from many rides out to Eastwell or Belvoir Castle – and secondly that it’s a bit less hilly.
So that’s what I did. I wore light clothing, because this afternoon was slated to be warm. Shorts, and a short-sleeved jersey over a long-sleeved top. And unfortunately I got punished for this. I set off at 08:35 when it was pretty overcast and cold, and I was still shuddering in the oncoming cool breeze two hours later. It wasn’t until midday when the sun came out that I started to feel comfortably warm. An hour or so later I had to stop to stuff the long-sleved top in my backpack.
The new stretch of route is really nice – much better than going through Melton. I used the eTrex for the part of the route after Eastwell. I will definitely do this one again. Because my spirits picked up nicely riding along the various scenic roads and through pleasant villages in the sunshine, I decided to make a 100-miler of it. I stopped eventually at a place called Grimsthorpe, then turned and came back exactly the way I’d come. Another five miles and I’d have been onto the flat bit of Lincolnshire, east of Bourne. Perhaps I should have got up a few hours earlier and gone to the Norfolk border again.
Nice that my route took me right past a TV transmitter that’s visible from the road near Eastwell in the distance. Turns out it’s the Waltham Transmitter, which broadcasts Freeview to 700,000+ homes in the East Midlands (I’ve just read). No doubt including this one.
I listened to 5 Live until they threatened to broadcast a piece on Stop and Search on the execrable Nihal Arthanayake’s show, and I was just in too good a mood to be brought down by one-sided race-baiting drivel. So I started my next audiobook, Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds.
I read a brilliant double novella by Reynolds in the noughties called Diamond Dogs / Turquoise Days – unbelievably stylish, imaginative and clever science-fiction. And I’m sorry to say that Pushing Ice seems a bit pedestrian, but I quite liked it. I’ll stick with it.
The shop at Sproxton where I’d intended to stop for food and drink on the way back was closed when I tried the door, despite a conspicuous SHOP OPEN sign deployed on the pavement outside. I was nearly out of fluid but not suffering. I made it to Burton in the Wolds, where I bought a very welcome, very cold bottle of fizzy Lucozade, a sausage roll and a Raspberry Crumble bar. Lovely.
After the initial brutality of the cold morning wind, a super ride out with some thoroughly pleasant new places and roads. Back on 104.23 miles. That was my third 100 miler of the year. I think my target was to do five this year.
Quite surprised that I’ve got a Strava personal record on a long stretch of a route that I’ve done many times, from Cotes to Eastwell – despite a headwind.