Still in Norfolk, this morning I rode East and then turned into a southerly headwind which was a fairly consistent 25km/h. This was not fun, but at least the sun was out. The problem is that in this area the landscape doesn’t offer much protection from the elements because there’s no trees or hedges that might break the wind.
Shortly after taking this photo I was picked up by one of the VC Norwich Sunday Club Run groups for a nice tow into Starston. Once I reached the Waverley valley I peeled off the bunch and things picked up because the wind was now at my shoulder. I had a good tempo as I skirted near the Suffolk border and on through the Pulhams. As I turned North it became a wind-assisted big ring power ride most of the way home.
Longest ride so far since getting back on it. Just under 30 miles and I am not totally destroyed so maybe the slow ramping up of distance is the way forwards. The bike is ace 🙂
Taking a couple of days off at the tail end of the week was an opportunity to explore the area further. This time it was west again out of the city, but rather than an immediate uphill slog it started with a steady ride through the Deerness Valley out to Esh Winning. Winning was a word used to describe striking a coal seam, but the last open cast mines closed here in the 1990s and the landscape has been restored.
From the Herat of the village the road to Cornsay was taken but rather than riding into this colliery settlement, I turned south and began the ascent to Hedley Hill and across the moor. To the west a cracking rainbow lit the valley, it’s rare to see a full one, but the solid headwind and threat of rain encouraged me to press on.
At Tow Law it was time to head for home and wind a mega tailwind it was big ring time all the way. The road to Stanley Crook where I’d stayed in my first week gave some more great views and showed surface mining for coal still in action.
The rest of the ride was on roads I’d driven before, but never in daylight and it’s transformative to see the County in sunshine. Not a bad place to be…
Day two of riding. West of Durham is up hill though the west Durham Colafields towards the North Pennines. Today it was about doing some climbing and the sun was out. I hadn’t expected uphill into a headwind, but that’s what I had.
From the higher elevations there are some good views to be had, this is looking north west above Langley Moor.
Lanchester nothing like Manchester, it’s a small, attractive village nestled in the hills. There’s a 1:5 ascent up Peth Bank to wake you up.
Burnhope. Pity Me. Killerby. There are some uplifting names for villages. Another 20 or so miles in the bag…
Day off yesterday, so headed out on the road bike. I was immediately reminded that the pawls on the Mavic Helium freehub are bolloxed and I need to order some new ones from the hub doctor. Nonetheless in general motoring around it was fine. I am also having to come to terms with the fact that I cannot just big ring it everywhere and I will occasionally need to use the front mech.
The results of doing so were interesting – the acceleration once you put the hammer down on the Ti Crown Jewel is insane. I think the super stiff cranks and BB setup just equate to immediate power transfer and coupled with the right gearing the bike accelerates like stink. When you’re slightly lifting the front wheel when gunning it then you know something is going on. Those SRAM Red levers shift so sweetly down the block too.
The ride itself was rather intense. The conditions when I left seemed to be cool and overcast and within 15 minutes became sunny and then incredibly humid. This on the whole was okay as long as you kept moving, but once you stopped then it was a hot and sweaty affair. Worst was being stuck in insane amounts of traffic for a mid-week ride outside of rush hour and then getting stopped at every single set of red lights. I kid you not it was like I was a bloody red light magnet yesterday.
At the top of the climb out of Woodley into Hyde I felt like my brain was boiling. At least getting on the down hills provided some relief. Short on water I headed home sooner than planned, but I am at least getting some mojo back. A combination of more biking, a bit of running at a kettlebells class once a week is seeing an improvement in my general fitness and clearly I’ve lost some weight as shorts that wouldn’t fit before do now. Still someway to go to get back into a decent level of form, but those Peak District hills are calling.