I’m on call at the moment, but it’s been very quiet. So quiet in fact that I was tempted to do a fondo. Not the sort of messing-around fondo that involves a sort of orbital or criss-cross route intended to keep me within 15 miles or so of base, but a proper one, in which I cycle in roughly the same direction for 31 miles, then come back.
A beautiful day for cycling; warm and sunny with a light wind coming from the east. No risk of rain, according to the forecast. I took the S Works since I’d only been out on it four times this year and of course the Summer of 2022 is, alas, drawing to a close.
As a sort of gesture to fortune, I expanded the ride a bit over the first 25 miles or so – by taking the long way up through Diseworth and Long Whatton to Zouch, then by detouring through Wymeswold between Cotes and Six Hills. This would enable me to turn back a mile or two closer to home.
Wymeswold is an inexplicably complicated village to navigate, and by approaching it from an unfamiliar direction, I managed to get lost. Instead of exiting it along my usual route (East Road), I found myself on a very pleasant, leafy and quiet country lane. I had no idea in which direction I was headed at this point but in a spirit of adventure, I decided to just keep going and see where it took me. In fact three miles later it took me to my usual road out east, near Six Hills.
I realised then that I had pedalled along a road called Narrow Lane – I’d seen it on a map often, but I’d always ignored it because it’s not particularly useful. The usual route out of Wymeswold (ie the one that had eluded me) is more efficient. There’s only three miles of Narrow Lane and it’s a bit up-and-down-ish. But it is very quiet (unsurprisingly, because it runs parallel to a faster road going in the same direction) so I may well do it again some time.
I was of course, a little nervous about being a considerable distance from home and on call at the same time. The insistent voice of my conscience on my right shoulder (not really, this is a metaphor just to be clear) kept whispering in my ear: “What are you going to do if you get a call 25 miles from home, and it’s an emergency? Turn back now!” But the voice on my other shoulder reminded me that I almost never get a call on a Saturday afternoon, and anyway (it continued), I could always say my phone was broken.
So I kept going. In fact I kept going for about a mile past the half-fondo distance before turning for home, to give myself the option of taking a more direct route back. I did do Narrow Lane again (and stopped there to take the pic above), but I came through Wymeswold and Rempstone the traditional way rather than going down to Cotes. I also didn’t bother with the Diseworth detour on the way back. At Zouch I realised that I’d be back home a mile short of a fondo, so I detoured into the outskirts of Coalville over the last couple of miles.
I didn’t get a call, fortunately.
Listened mostly to footy chat on 5 Live. I’d been looking forward to Liverpool vs Bournemouth, the featured commentary game at 3pm, but Liverpool took the suspense out of it by scoring twice in the first six minutes. So I switched over to Gilles Peterson on 6 Music, a decision that I regretted later when I heard that Liverpool had scored nine goals. What that match lacked in suspense, it might well have made up for in entertainment.
Gilles had an interview with Kahil El’Zabar, a talented musician for sure but a bit of a hippy. He told us about “the vibration of energy” and that his saxophone player’s parts were “the expression of the universe through human configuration”.
Back on 62.26 miles and that’s the fourth (and last) fondo this month.