Day off day was spent breaking the boys in for their first day back remote schooling. Up at 07.45, getting them washed and dressed followed by brekkie and onto their first lesson. They even managed some chores. Once they started on their school work, I took the dog out for a cheeky stroll along the Flitch. We ducked into the forest and she found a ball, a tennis ball. Back on the Flitch for the last 1km, I gave her some rigorous sprint intervals chasing that bouncy thing up and down the trail. After only 35 minutes, she was spent.
I helped with some on-line maths before narrating and editing some slide show presentations and uploading them to the Med Ed YouTube channel. This is a lot of work on a day off. After roast chicken, mayo and salad sandwiches for lunch, I kitted up for a ride. It was windy with 30mph gusts forecast so I planned a route taking in off road trails that would shelter me from the worst of the cross winds.
The first was Leapers lane, a bridleway that gets too boggy to ride in the winter and connects a country road back to the forest. Its been a while so was looking forward to seeing it again. Less than a km, it was rutted solid, boneshakingly bumpy and horse worn.
As the forest is closed, I took a footway adjacent to it and got onto the main road before taking another bridleway that I have ridden many times to/from work lately. The farmer has filled in his tractor trails leading to the lane up from it. Very smooth after Leapers lane. Into a head gust or 3 and then a turn west for some tailwind to take me to Boxley lane, another one that I avoid in the winter for its perma mud or whenever it’s been wet. It’s actually a byeway that connects a couple of roads but really only used by farm traffic. And horses and people on mountain bikes.
Big grooves gouged out of the mud by 4WD, tractors and trucks are now set solid and make it near impossible to traverse. It’s like someone has put the trails in a kiln overnight, hardening them like rock. Another brief bumpy adventure up the middle. Or the sides whichever is least bumpy. Can’t pedal in the deep flat grooves-my pedals hit the sides it’s that deep up beyond the bottom bracket. And narrow. I park up against a log at the side of a field for a bite to eat in the sun and take a pano of my vista. A gust of wind blows my bike over.
I head for home deciding on Cuckoo Lane, another byeway connecting roads through farmland. This is almost always muddy and today I am expecting the same sculptured grooves as before, carved out by farm traffic. The going is slow, intensely focused, draining. But fun, different. Beats the hell out of rush hour!
Back onto road briefly and then onto the Flitch, I feel like a pro eating up the flat surface during the last 2 km home. Two thirds of 30 days done.
Total UK deaths: 16,509 (449)