Cycling through the floods

Usually, after a race, I take it easy on Monday and have a rest day or light training. But, looking at the weather forecast for the next 10 days, I thought I ought to jump at the opportunity to ride the bike, before more battering from the weather comes shortly. – ‘Making hay whilst the sun shines’ and all that. Or at least, riding when only light showers are predicted.


Today wasn’t too bad. It still rained for 20 minutes, leaving my feet cold for the rest of the ride, but with only light winds it’s all relative good for 2014.

After seeing the long run weather forecast, I was tempted to do something crazy and impulsive and buy a Ryanair flight to Tenerife or Majorca.  Anything to get away from the sensation of being surrounded by water, – water, water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. ( Coleridge’s line from the Ancient Mariner was my unwarranted mantra for today’s ride. Sometimes you get a song in your head, you don’t really want. But, it gets stuck. Today, I got this line in my head, going round and round. I guess it was appropriate). But, before I get carried away with my poetic side (there is none) the grim reality is that there is no spring training camp for me. Just a relentless plodding through the puddles, and doing my best to improve fitness for the upcoming hardriders, sporting courses and hilly time trials.


The race yesterday at Kingston Wheelers, left me fairly energised and motivated to train. Today I managed 83 miles up and down the Chiltern Hills around Henley and Marlow. It was quite good. But, the only problem with racing on TT bike, is that it does feel a bit of come down to go back to ride my clunking winter hack. My winter training bike seems to be more akin to a 3 spd, 20kg, Boris Bike than a sleek road racing machine.

I wasn’t exactly flying up the hills, but it turned out to be a respectable average speed for February. There was, as you might expect, frequent puddles and areas of flooding. Henley and Marlow both lie in the Thames basin and it was pretty grim around there. Riding along the A road from Henley to Marlow felt almost surreal. On either side of the road were lakes of water, covering up farmland, woodland and tree stumps. Some fields evoked imagery of the First World War’s muddy no-mans land that I’ve been seeing on TV documentaries recently. Either that or I was mildly hallucinating  after eating only a dry banana skin during my longest ride of 2014  (not really mother)

The ride lasted 4 and half hours, and I was kept quite entertained working out whether water by the road was an official pond/lake or just flooding. Sometimes, it was hard to say.

The bad news is that more rain is forecast. At least with 80 miles on the board I feel more relaxed about spending the rest of the week warmly ensconced on the rollers. But, I’m mile munching already because I have a crazy idea to do a 12 hour time trial in June. Once the weather breaks, June will come around quicker than you can say April, May, June. So I’m trying to get at least a few centuries in by then.

I do have a fall back of riding the national 12 hour at the end of July in Yorkshire. Or I could do something really crazy and do both 12 hours. But, until then, North Road Hardriders is topping my thoughts. I hope it’s stopped raining by then, otherwise I may be needing a cyclo cross bike.


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