Today’s plan was to visit Rutland, then come back. There are a couple of routes that accomplish this in a round trip of 60-odd miles, but I wanted to do more than that today – so I chose a route that takes in the first 40 miles of my Norfolk route, then dips south for 3 miles near Sewstern.

Set off at 0924 (BST, of course – the clocks having gained an hour overnight).

I took the first Boardman and over the first few miles I had a sense that the saddle was set a little too low, so I adjusted it before I was far out of the village (using estimated torque of course, I don’t take a torque wrench with me on a ride). I don’t think it had slipped. I’m just a bit more sensitive to it at the moment, having had to adjust the saddle position on the Roubaix.

I didn’t have much food on me; the plan was to stock up at the petrol station at Burton on the Wolds, which I did. I also hoped to buy some more stuff at the village shop at Buckminster; alas it had closed at 1pm and I got there 25 minutes later than that. I’m not sure why the proprietors, people manifestly not persons of a Christian persuasion, would close early for Easter Sunday, but hey. I pressed on regardless.

Got to the border, took the pic, went over into Rutland for a minute then came back exactly the same way. I did ponder whether I should come back via Melton Mowbray where I’d be sure to find a petrol station with snacks 9 miles later, but I had a cheese & onion roll and an oat bar on me and I felt sure I’d make it to the petrol station at Burton, 26 miles later, without any trouble.

The headwind going east had been slightly brutal. But the tailwind coming back was an absolute delight. I felt like I was riding a moped. The return trip was such a breeze that I didn’t even bother to stop at Burton. I was just flying along, and I see that I’ve picked up a few Strava PRs for a route that I’ve done dozens of times.

A bit cold when I set off but the temperature climbed nicely. I took off a layer of clothing after 15 miles. The temperature did dip a bit later on when the sun went in but not for long. I was mostly very comfortable. The forecast had threatened a possibility of light rain showers, but apart from a hint of drizzle for ten minutes on the way back, I was untroubled by precipitation.

I listened to Colin Murray on 5 Live, then the Rush live album Different Stages – which I hadn’t listened to for many years – then football coverage; Liverpool vs Brighton and the first half of Man City vs Arsenal.

Back on 86.45 miles. I was home two hours before sunset which makes me think I should have done 100 really, but it wasn’t the best day for it. There’ll be longer, warmer and less windy days soon.

Anyway that’s a wrap for March on 480 miles, and the last neighbouring county box ticked for this year. Last year I did the last two on 2nd April. Quite nice to get them all in before the end of March this year, although in 2022 I’d done them all before the end of February.