Took a late, long lunch break and did a Twycross on the Boardman. Right knee was still feeling a bit aggravated from doing (very nearly) 50 miles on Saturday. I took it easy but still got pain in both knees after 8 miles or so. Nothing debilitating and I was able to complete 23.56 miles without suffering too much, but perhaps I gave myself a bit of a setback on Saturday. It does feel as though there’s a trend toward them getting better eventually. I was having to hop upstairs in July, and although I feel a bit of a pain in the right knee still I can at least ascend them normally now.
I’ll see how they feel at the weekend anyway, with another three or four days off.
Anyway quite a pleasant run out, disregarding concerns about my anatomy. Not too blowy, not overly cold. Bright to start off then a bit overcast and gloomy. Then dark-ish, but I had lights. Was back while there was still enough light to see the road without a powerful beam at the front (just had a cheapo LED blinker with me).
So that’s 95 this month, leaving me with 61 to do in the rest of Feb. 273 done this year.
Going to stick to 20 or so for a week or two I think. I hadn’t actually intended to do as many as 23 today. Just mentally miscalculated. I suppose I should keep a handy list of familiar routes and their distances.
I left the garage atop the Boardman at about 11:35. I’d decided to head
out east with the tailwind behind me and see how I got on. I thought I
might just go as far as Wymeswold then come back, which would have got
about 35 miles under my belt. But equally, I thought I might well turn
back after 12 or so, to be on the safe side.
fairly warm, though it wasn’t that cold. I trialled a new tubular
headscarf that came as a freebie with the balaclava – and that turned
out to be really effective at keeping the wind off my ears. There are
several ways to wear it but I opted to stick my head through it and
arrange it so just my face was sticking out of it, like a hijab. Wore a
dutt on top. Probably more useful than the balaclava, actually.
took a low-elevation route to the main route out east, Ashby Road,
joining it at Belton. Pushed along quite happily over the river and into
Nottinghamshire in pleasant sunshine, with the wind at my back. Got to
Wymeswold after about 18 miles, but decided to keep going for a bit.
Took a detour along a quiet lane called East Road, looking for an
inconspicuous spot for a wee. After consulting Google Maps I decided to
keep going in that direction, then take a right along Hades Lane before
joining Paddy’s Lane, where I would turn right and come back home.
although the wind was supposed to dissipate roughly at this time it
actually grew substantially stronger, as evidenced by a number of wind
turbines in the vicinity, spinning quite powerfully and facing the
direction I would have to pedal to return home. I was being buffeted by
the wind quite powerfully from my right, so much so that at one point I
was actually pushed onto the bumpy grass to the side of the road. I had
to pedal quite forcefully to stay upright and rejoin the road, which was
a real bummer because I hurt my right knee doing this and it wasn’t
quite the same again for the rest of the ride. Up until that point I’d
been keeping it in a reasonable state of equilibrium by taking it easy.
– I came to the junction where I was due to turn right and homeward,
but I simply wasn’t going to push into 40mph winds with a dodgy knee. So
I turned left instead, heading still further from home but with the
wind at my back. In the back of my mind I thought I might even go as far
as Melton Mowbray, spend an hour or two there in Costa Coffee then head
home into less hostile conditions once the wind had died down. I pushed
on another 1.5 miles until I came to a steep descent approaching
Asfordby Valley, which I’d forgotten about. Definitely wouldn’t have
been a good idea to come back that way so I came to an abrupt halt and
consulted Google Maps. As it turned out I’d just passed a left turn to a
village callled Grimston, with a pub called the Black Horse. So I
headed that way instead.
turned out to be a good idea because the Black Horse had a very nice
sandwich menu and friendly staff. I left the bike leaning against a
wooden bench outside, strolled in and ordered a bacon & brie
sandwich and an orange juice. I didn’t have my bike lock with me so I
ate outside, at the bench. The sandwich came with perfectly made crispy
fries, coleslaw and a small jar of ketchup. Perfect. Quite a fortuitous
find because it’s only half a mile from Six Hills Lane, the main road
over to Belvoir Castle which I’ve done a few times – a road which is
conspicuously lacking in garages, caffs, pubs, small shops and other
places to fuel up. Ideal really as it’s just about the half-way point as
So, suitably replenished and with the power of the
wind having diminished a tad I set off again in the direction of Six
Hills Lane and came home the usual way. My right knee had started to
hurt a bit by this time but I took it easy, making the occasional stop
to do quad and hamstring exercises. My left knee started to hurt as well
over the last fifteen miles or so, which reminded me not to be
complacent about it – I’ve focused mainly on the right leg for my physio
exercises but I need to work them both.
set in just as I was leaving Nottinghamshire about ten miles from home
and the temperature dropped a bit. I picked up a bit of rain near Zouch,
but only for ten minutes or so. Things brightened up a bit again 20
Got home on 49.63 miles, but felt as if I’d
done a long one – partly I guess because I hadn’t done a ride of that
distance for many months, partly because I’d made a bit of a day out of
it with a lunch stop, but also because I mainly used roads which I
associate with longer trips. Very nice to be riding over that way again.
Didn’t see much interesting wildlife, just a buzzard, a fox
that had recently been twatted by a motor vehicle, a quadruped that was
so badly decomposed that it was impossible to tell what species it was,
and some cute little hedge birds with brown / white foilage.
– despite the wind and my concern about my knees, that was actually a
pretty cracking ride out. A bit of an adventure being largely unplanned,
and with some new roads and a new pub. And – I think I’ve got away with
it. My knees don’t feel too bad. Assuming they do recover as I expect
in a couple of days then I think it’s probably safe to try a Fondo in
two or three weeks, if I can devise a suitably low elevation route
(probably out west, north of Lichfield). I seem to be able to pootle
along flat roads without putting any trauma on my knees if I take it
Actually – here’s a thought. Maybe I could drive a bike
to start / finish point somewhere east of Stamford, and do a flat 100
miler from there? It’s not cheating, is it? It’s not like people who
live in Norfolk get disqualified from Fondos. I’ll think about that.
Anyway so that’s 71 this month, 85 miles to go to reach the Feb target of 156.
Oh yes! Almost forgot. A discarded underwear sighting a few miles from Rempstone. Black, with pink and purple hearts. Unusual as the roadkill panty season proper doesn’t start until late April in the East Midlands.
Thought the roads would be wet this morning after yesterday’s precipitation but they look fairly dry. The forecast is for high winds pointing east over the next couple of hours, which made me think of taking advantage and heading over to Melton Mowbray. But I’d still have a headwind, albeit less powerful, on the way back.
Wow – weird – in the very second that I typed that a caller to Danny Baker on 5 Live mentioned Melton Mowbray. Spooky. Perhaps it’s a sign.
Probably better sticking to 23 miles or so for the time being. It’s not a particularly low elevation route anyway. But I do feel the need to do something a bit different.
The roads were acceptably dry by lunchtime so I did a Twycross on the Boardman. Cold, but beautifully sunny. Just before I set off, the Man from Amazon turned up with a balaclava that I’d ordered – a full face affair, with just a letterbox for the eyes, and long enough to go right down the collar of a jersey. it certainly kept the cold wind off my face but it does have one disadvantage – it captures your breath as you expel it, then directs it up to the eye gap, where it fogs up your cycling glasses for a moment. At my first wee stop near Twycross, I removed it. I think I would definitely wear it again in very cold weather though. There must be a solution for the lens misting problem. It probably looked a bit silly under a red dutt. Onward through Sheepy, and back to the A44 along Wellsborough Rd. I’d done 13 miles at that point and was hoping to do 22. I knew that the end of Gibbet Lane -> home is about 8, so I took a left and came back that way. Stopped at the Gibbet Post to see if a few of the physio exercises might help, but they seemed to wear me out a bit – I felt a bit dizzy when I got back on the bike for the first minute or two.
My front tyre picked up a bright grey stripe – salt on the roads, no doubt.