Yesterday’s ride was mapped out by my friend Jeremy who kindly leant me his Garmin to play with. It was based on the Chiltern 100 route but had a few adaptations, making it 113 miles. One word that sums it up is FANTASTIC! Another word is TIRING. Here’s the route followed by a few observations:
Distance: 113.2 miles
Moving time: 8 hours 35 minutes
Elevation: 8,156 feet
Kcals burned: 4,205
Average output: 122 watts
Maximum speed: 43mph
Items lost: one pair of glasses (second in 6 months)
As mentioned, Jeremy had kindly let me borrow this bit of handle bar bling. I needed to be shown “press this” and I was off and it did its stuff without too many pressing of buttons. Once I was getting out of my familiar territory it seemed strange relying on it to show me the way, what made it especially strange was not knowing where it was taking me. Normally, of course, when I use a SatNav, I know where it’s taking me because that’s what I programme in. This was so different!
I quickly got used to the various noises. Two of these were for approaching a junction and were a multi-note chime (quite sweet) and the other was a Garmin Raspberry noise telling me I’d gone the wrong way. Whenever I had gone the wrong way, the screen would go black which did not exactly help with getting back on the right road. You see, Jeremy had warned me that somewhere on the route there was a turning the Garmin would take me except it was a farmer’s track. He simply advised me what to do. When I came across this, dealing with it was simple enough and I’d had the benefit of seeing the on-screen map. When this happened a second time, I had to guess the route, which was further and sure enough the screen went black, leaving me totally in the dark. Other times a message would appear on the screen but I couldn’t make it out, having already lost my glasses.
I’ll do a more comprehensive article another time.
In spite of the perfect conditions, I only saw a handful. Pleasingly they were all friendly and we were all boyd on by the lovely surroundings and wonderful weather.
First up was someone (don’t know his name) before Wendover. We chatted for a little and he zoomed ahead and I maintained a comfortable distance following him downhill. At one point we were both being over taken by a car and our speed was 30 – 35mph and he unclipped his left foot and started waving it. This was strange but then I realised he was signalling left! Thinking about that, it was the most sensible thing to do – I wouldn’t want to continue braking like that with just the front brake and take my hands off the handlebars. He made it okay.
I think I might have spotted the Hill Climb Champion Tejvan Pettinger, who us also a fellow blogger. He was dressed in his familiar white top and bright blue shorts. At the time I was grinding my way up a particularly sharp climb, while he was enjoying blasting down the other way. Not enough time to say “hello”. Another time!
Next was Paul (hi Paul) on his nice Trek who caught me up and we cycled a pleasant few miles with each other before he peeled off heading for towards home in Marlow. Somehow his company meant those miles drifted by without any effort. Seemed we had quite a few things in common and in many ways a similar outlook. Paul, I much appreciate your company., thank you.
Finally I had an encounter with a fascinating cyclist coming through the Ashridge Estate as 100 miles were clocked. Didn’t catch his name; again he over took me and I had the opportunity to catch him on a downhill slope. He was riding a single speed Condor, which I couldn’t resist asking him about. He explained it was a “Zen thing”. Although I knew what he probably meant, I was pleased when he explained it was all about not having the things you don’t really require. Indeed he had a fixed sprocket on the other side of the hub, for times when he didn’t need a freewheel, or a rear brake. Seemed a really nice cyclist! Embarrassingly for me, the Garmin chimed and he needed to go in different directions at a junction. Suddenly I was feeling over-equipped with my handlebar bling.
Wow what a ride! Even now the next day I am enjoying it but my legs are aching a bit, even after a good night’s sleep. Not so much because of the distance but moreover because of the climbing. I can tell you I am pleased I have a triple chainset, taking me down to a 1:1 drive (26x26T) as I did use it on some of those climbs.
The funny thing was in thinking “where is Jeremy taking me now?”. This was most in my mind as I was getting towards home and on more familiar roads and then I’d be taken onto something completely new, or off in a different direction to what I expected. I stuck faithfully to the course (apart from returning to my house, not his) and thoroughly enjoyed it.
The big question in my mind was “could I make the remaining 37 miles to Whitby” on the actual Coast to Coast? I think the answer has to be “yes” but it will be tough going. The climbing in today’s ride, 8,156 feet, is in the right level for the actual event but still there would be plenty more to go. That makes me nervous and I’m thinking as I have come this far, surely I can have a degree of confidence on the day, albeit slightly apprehensively.
Today I have seen new countryside and England is looking its best. Once again a good ride and I find myself whispering “thank you God” for another splendidly long cycle ride.