On my latest Coast to Coast training ride I passed through the very pretty village of Cuddington in Buckinghamshire, Bucks for short. Apparently it has won the Best Kept Village award for the county several times. That is all very well but I am not impressed by the current sign post arrangement, even if a cycling By Way is signposted. What made things worse was the signs pointed the wrong way, clearly some vandalism had occurred.
Cuddington was one of the many places where I stopped to consult my map, which I seem to use more and more when I’m out of my usual range. Before I go any further, here’s an overview on the cycle ride in question:
Moving time / average speed: 5hrs:35mins / 14.6mph
Elevation: 3,307 feet
Other friendly cyclists: 6 or 7. Each one exchanged a nod or a smile or a “Hiya”. Good camaraderie, encouraging.
Other less friendly cyclists: 1. He was pretty fast, expensive looking bicycle, Lycra, shades. Didn’t even bother to glance across the road at me. Snooty. Not encouraging.
Wifely pep talk
For the cycle ride itself, I set off at around 6.15am, still rather gloomy and dull. This early start had been planned and agreed at home with wifely motivational talking going on the day before. This is where the Reluctant Cyclist is tipping the scales against me with choice questions designed to make things happen. Some of these were along the lines of:
“how far do you fancy riding?”
“any good places, or any good hills planned?”
“I bet you’ll feel fantastic when you get back?”
“do you think the roads will be nice and quiet?”
This is where I am getting a dose of my own medicine and I recall Rachel always resisting my efforts to have the same effect on her sometime before. Generally the response was “don’t you go social-working me with all those open questions”. I took it on the chin and it did the trick. Besides, curried vegetables and rice was on the menu that evening and that was nice to look forward to.
A few reflections of the 82.6 miles
- Weather conditions were near-perfect: no wind at all. There was some nicely refreshing drizzle early on which gradually got replaced by slightly lighter grey skies
- I took a few wrong turns having forgot the route. Maybe I’m losing my marbles but I’d stop, check the map and say to myself “T junction in 3 miles turn left and then second right towards so-and-so”. By the time I got to the T junction I had completely forgotten which way and would need to check the map again! This could be something to consider for the Coast to Coast ride as I know I will be so distracted by the stunning landscape and the whole experience.
- This route turned out to be pretty flat without many hills. So as I got closer to home I took in a few hills which made it feel more complete
- Refuelling with Nakd snack bars every 60 – 90 minutes seemed to work
- Virtually no cramp at all and this was a brilliant outcome. I attribute this to electrolyte drinks and I’ll blog about this soon – I think I have found a solution
- Getting back home I was naturally a little tired but much better than I expected
- My bike ran almost perfectly. The only issue is a squeaky Brooks B17 saddle. The bike handles so nicely and I’m still loving the Tiagra STI levers!