#73

Another sunny morning, later getting in to work. Warmer. Boys dropped off at school, I headed in via mostly off road/traffic free routes. Although I was slightly later, there was no way that I wasn’t going to make the most of this weather so took my time. I forgot my spoon so couldn’t stop for trail brekkie which meant another couple of km extra as I explored the countryside for alternative routes. A byeway here, a bridleway there. Bathed in sunshine, the newly ploughed fields glistening in the distance. Except it wasn’t sunlight but seagulls sitting on the soil watching the tractor plod it’s way up and down. Dozens of them. Gulls?! 50miles away from the coast? I watched them, motionless as they soaked up the sun. Presumably they know that the newly over turned earth has premium fodder for their diet. It must be worth the flight.

I got to work and went straight into a meeting (informal) with an excuse of being late. “I was enjoying the weather too much and lost track of time” was not the one I used but it was partly true. I witheld my trump card of a repairing a flat and used a forgotten wallet back home reason. They don’t follow me on Strava…

Another busy day over, I escaped work in the dark and joined the mayhem on the fastest route back to the van. On the busy roads. Drivers were unusually patient and courteous and by the time I made the short distance, I wanted more. That would have to wait until tomorrow…

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#72

It was sunny without a cloud in the sky this morning and no hint of a wind. But it was cold, 6°C cold. But 2 out of 3 isn’t bad for a September morning. At least the sun would give me the impression of warmth until things got balmy into the ride. I layered for the temperature with merino under my long sleeve fleece lined winter top this time and dug out the winter gloves. I still wore bib shorts but covered them with a pair of MTB shorts-apart from headwinds, my legs don’t complain unless it gets down to 0.

And off I went on the crosser. I picked up a new gear cable for the 29er yesterday but cut the outer casing too short. I have gone back to the bin to use the previous one as a guide for another one. I should’ve watched that GCN before I started but I guess that I like doing things the hard way.

I tried to take roads less travelled by cars and even took some gravel but there were still some entitled clowns passing me head on at speed along single lane roads. Hopefully the last 3 still have my DNA on them from the copious amounts of phlegm that I produced in the cool morning air. I arrived to rapturous applause from my fingers for acting on my learning from last week.

The tail bag really is really versatile. The DIY champagne cork bar plug fell out on the way home.

I just had to make the most of the late evening sun and instructions to make a family meeting before bed time. It’s time that the climate of pre teen entitlement in our house is addressed…

I stopped by the bike shop and bought a bottle cage to complete the tool keg set up on the crosser and another cable outer casing. The warmth was long gone by the time I got home but I was treated to a magnificent sunset all the same. It was too cold to muck about with a photo.

Once home, I moved like a pro and replaced the gear cable on the 29er, checked the gear index and put it back in the shed for a morning of adventure on tomorrows journey in to work. I was so slick that Mrs B2W didn’t even notice that I did it in the lounge while she finished off a board game with the boys in the kitchen. I am not sure what I should be more proud of; the fact that I changed my first gear cable in 15min or that I got away with maintenance on my bike in the hallowed space of the lounge!

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Sleeveless September

We had a family outing planed Saturday afternoon following a morning of helping out the sis in law by towing a trailer from A to B. But she couldn’t do the morning for some reason so I had time on my hands. I used it wisely, attacking a lump of ironing in front of the NRL while master14 took the dog out for a run and MrsB2W did a half marathon training run. Then I shaved the lawn within an inch of its life under a gradually warming cloudless sky. After that, I had an opportunity…Instead of getting coffee while we’re out, I could pop up the road on the bike and do that while getting 100 miles for the week under my belt. It’ll only take 30 minutes and will be good to be out in the sunshine I thought. I slapped on my vest to get the last of the summer sun on my arms, checked the tyre pressure and headed out with the sun at its peak in the sky.

Not exactly cycling specific but the last chance that I’ll get to wear this for the summer-probably

Except that the Flitch Way would be shrouded in shadow. Nope, I’ll go the long way on the roads and get a bit more in. At the turn off to the shop, I wondered whether they would have the right beans or just ground. Nope, I’ll go a bit further to the supermarket and avoid disappointment. I ambled along the roads soaking in the sunshine and warmth. Well, relative warmth at 19°C but the wind was light and behind me. Wednesday morning was a distant memory in my zone. Coffee procured, I made my way back and took the off road route back home for lunch, an 8km errand turned into 24km. Last September, I rode sleeveless into work. Saturday I realised that ain’t gonna happen this year so I did the next best thing and made use of a small window of opportunity. A happy day.

I rested my cycling legs on Sunday and played cricket instead. The drive down to East Sussex was worth it for the last game of the season.

Mayfield cricket club. They’ve sold the ground to pay for the development of another larger ground nearby. The buyers are going to build houses on it-such a shame that a piece if history will be lost in the name of finding space for people to live

Today, Monday I noticed that a rear tyre on the van was half full. There was a screw embedded in it but there was no way that I was gonna move it for fear of releasing the presumed tamponade. After the school drop off, I left it at the garage and rode home with an almost immediate rubbing sound on my chain ring. The rear gear cable had come loose and it got chewed up.

The gears didn’t work so I stomped my way home to the earworm if Stompin’ at the Savoy by Benny Goodman. After some research and reading my bike repair book, I brought a cable and cable cutters on-line, squeezed in a dog walk and started some house chores before heading back to the garage to collect the van.

The screw was smack bang in the middle of the tyre so it was a quick fix and re-seal and cost £18, £3 less than the cable and cutters! I had planned longer rides today as am forced to drive tomorrow. So I slipped in another 4km up to the supermarket once parked in a premium space by the school. At 30km it’s 20km less than I wanted but I’m sure that I’ll have fun later this week making up for it.

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#71

I only did little rides today, a planned end of week spin treat on a fresh autumnal morning. During the ride along the river, my mind was full of feelings of parental failure, associated shame and a realisation that adolescents and pre-teens really are from another planet. It’s no wonder that I titled my ride “Failure” on Strava this morning.

Consequently work was hell. By 2pm I was tired of being nice and made plans to escape a couple of hours early and get some more grass up the middle on a wonderfully warm, sunny afternoon. I tried to follow what I thought was a bridleway but it was just a bumpy footpath through a recently harvested field. I made it to another track and ticked off another route in my head.

Mid ride, I stopped at my new favourite country pub and ruminated the weeks end over a pint of IPA making the most of the falling sun and last bit of warmth. Maybe I am the one from from a different world, dissonant from a world of free roaming games, multiple social media platforms and selfies.

I delayed my journey home further by eeking out some more miles in the sun back to the van to start my weekend.

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#70

Today was a slow one to appease my legs from the ride home last evening. It was on the quiet-countryside-avoid-cars-as much as possible route. A bit of solitude. Cooler and wet days are around the corner so I made the most of the sun and warmth and stopped for brekkie; a savoury muffin baked on Monday with a couple of swigs of almond milk. It should really be called nut juice but that probably doesn’t quite have the same marketing power.

Trail brekkie

The “moderate breeze from the south west” was in my face for most of it. It was stronger than yesterday but the changing scenery of ploughed fields and slowly changing leaf colours took my mind off it. A real contrast to yesterday.

The ride back to the van was the first after sunset for a while. I started off with the blinkies as the light faded. I knew that I would be riding in the dark and wasn’t looking forward to it so I stayed on the country lanes and some grass up the middle. I was reminded of how quick riding seems in the dark. I hugged the curves and hopped down familiar wooded trails, pushed by the second warm tailwind 2 days running. It was epic even if it wasn’t fast.

Yesterdays early morning pain is but a distant memory…

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#69

(Alarm goes off at 6)

Legs: What, already?! Do we really have to ride in this morning?

Me: Not for 5min, I’ll hit the snooze.

(5min later)

Legs: We are so tired & the top of our thighs hurt!

Me: You’re always tired on a Wednesday morning. And the thighs thing is from cricket on Sunday. We’re riding in. It’ll be easy, all roads this morning on the crosser and you won’t have put in a lot to go faster. Go on, you’ll thank me in an hour.

(Out on the road)

Legs: Lets just start off in the little ring until we warm up a bit.

Me: OK, nice idea.

(After 2km)

Legs: We’re struggling down here! Stop trying to push us so hard!

Me: It’s not me, it’s the bloody headwind. Stop moaning and spin in a nice rhythm. I’m trying to go easy.

Legs: It’s not too late to turn around…

Me: yes it is

Legs: no it isn’t, we could be back in 10 minutes.

Me: Y.E.S I.T I.S T.O.O L.A.T.E!!!!

Legs: Mild breeze my @®$€! You can tell that meteorologists don’t ride bikes!!!!

Me: Look, we’re coming up to the busy road-5km of impatient drivers and close passing. I need to concentrate real hard and do that without you constantly belly aching. Do want me to get knocked off and you guys be in plaster for a couple of months followed by months of rehab. Worse still, there’s the immediate searing pain of broken bones to contend with…

Finger: yeah legs you don’t know how good you’ve got it.

(5km later)

Bum crack: Hey! Who turned on the cold tap?!

Back: Don’t look at me. I wasn’t the one who decided not to wear a base layer this morning!!!

Shoulder: You know what? This set up on the hoods is way better. How come we didn’t do this last week?

Me: because I like the trails better and it’s less dangerous. Besides, pain is just weakness leaving the body. I’m glad you like being on the hoods though…

Legs: Yeah shoulder, cut it out- you don’t have to do anything up there!! Are we nearly there yet?

Me: Yes, we’re nearly there. Well done. Just think about that great tail wind that we’ll have on the way back this evening! And I’ve packed the short sleeve top because it will be 23°C!

Arms: Yay!!!!! Will it be sunny?

Me: I suppose so. This is England in September-anything is possible.

(Later that evening)

Me: Yay! Sunny, warm and dry. Lets go!!

Legs: Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!! Awesome, awesome, awesome, awesome, awesome, AWESOME!!!!!

(15km later after a climb)

Legs: I’m so not done yet, how far to go?

Me: 10km. Want more?

Stomach: I’m feeling peckish. Any chance of a snack?

Me: Nope. Dinner as soon as we hit home.

Stomach: Well I’m not going any further than that 10km if I don’t have a snack. If you ignore me, the legs are gonna have a worse time of it than this mornings trivial wind!

Legs: OK but can we have protein and pasta for dinner? Can we? Ooooooo please can we? Please, please, PLEEEEEASE?!

Me: OK but let’s put the hammer down and get there ASAP.

(Later)

Legs: Were pretty beat. Do we really have to ride again tomorrow?

Me: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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#68

  • Wake at 05.50. Hit the snooze button. Get up at 05.55.
  • Make coffee, get lunch and brekkie out of the fridge
  • Check Strava and Fitbit stats over coffee. Another badge.

What’s that in new money? 85km-Wow! Who needs Elon Musk and Virgin Galactic?!

  • Jump in the van and drive to the supermarket. Park up, pack tail bag with lunch, brekkie and flask.
  • Out on the trails. Dog walkers.1 cheery “good morning” reciprocated, 1 not.
  • Ghost through the mist. Scolded by hands for deciding against spring/autumn gloves. Shoulder complains about the bumps. Shave a couple of km off the route.
  • Come up with a poster presentation idea for conference. BOOM!
  • Arrive at work. Fresh, excited.
  • Work non stop. One thing started turns into another and another.
  • Finish late. Take the short route to collect the boys from school in time. A shame-its sunny and mild out.
  • Along the river. Events conspire against a quicker time. Walkers, leisurely cyclists, a drug deal under an over pass. Onto the busy road. Nice drivers if a little too fast.
  • Back to the van. Not long enough.
  • Home for a dog walk.
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