Lockdown 3 riding has been hard and also at the same time easy. It’s been easy to motivate myself to get out on the bike as it’s the only legitimate reason to be outside the house other than for work or essential visits to shops. Not even the recent cold snap and snow stopped me. it’s been completely Baltic conditions or miserable and wet and I’ve been out in all of it. Every time on my own up until now. It wasn’t until today’s ride that I realised how hard it has actually been and what made it so tough. The realisation came because today I rode with someone else!.
Dan had signed up to ride The Distance.cc’s Blockbuster event. The (socially) distanced ride https://thedistance.cc/sociallydistanced meant we had to follow a route collecting pictures of various things to get across the board
I’m sure other riders planned a careful route with pinpointed stops for specific items on the list but to be honest we just pedaled around with no real idea of where to go other than to follow the front wheel and see if anything we came across fitted the brief. Oh…. and there must be a (takeaway) coffee and cake stop…or two and just incase I took some hot cross buns for emergencies
There were a few stiff climbs but the early frost was melting quickly and temperatures were turning ever warmer and the novelty of chatting to someone else while riding rather than the habit of humming songs to myself that I’ve got into over the last few months meant the miles and elevation just seemed to fly by. We took the most off-roady route we could that would avoid the inevitable crowds that the popular routes would contain but I have to report that every person we came across, from horse and rider, large family groups with ebullient children to dog walkers all were friendly and courteous and when needed, we were the same, giving way with a smile and the very British thing of discussing the weather that we were all standing in and experiencing. it WAS a fabulous day for it though 😉
I had no idea if we’d scored any hits on the chart, Dan was taking care of that, I was just turning the pedals and at one point removing arm warmers as it was so warm. The feel of the sun’s power on bare skin was intoxicating and I didn’t want it to end. I want all my rides to be like this, temperatures in double figures, almost no breeze and plenty of daylight to enjoy it in. For once Pandemics were forgotten and the new normal was gone, the old normal was back for a few precious miles, until the next coffee stop where mask would be deployed and socially distanced queues would be joined anyway.
Secondary to the Distance.cc competition was my goal of exploring something on my doorstep that until Saturday I didn’t even know existed. I found out when an Instagram account I follow posted this picture @My_Midlife_adventures and knew I’d have to visit it myself to see if it was real. It certainly didn’t disappoint.
A genuine castle (sort of) hidden from the road, a road I’ve genuinely ridden past 100s of times not knowing it was literally yards away. the fact it had a cracking little route past it too just added to the fun. I think I got lucky with the light on this picture too.
Conditions just a week ago were awful, thick gloopy mud made much of the local area virtually unrideable and wheels and tyres got so clogged up they wouldn’t turn but the wind this week has dramatically dried things out apart from the odd patch..
In fact we were so encouraged by the lack of moisture that we decided to lengthen the ride and tackle a bridleway that I looked at in January but failed to complete because of the conditions, I think I’d still be there today trying to extricate myself from the mud if I’d carried on on that day. Today though apart from a huge lake in the middle of the field it was actually passable with care even to the point that the ground was solid enough to knock my saddle out of alignment when my backside whacked it! We passed a windmill (not on the list) lots of pubs (closed 😦 ) and Lamas/Alpacas (just what is the difference?) taking a piss. We may also have stopped for a toasted teacake, a fruit scone and not a pot of tea from an Indian restaurant of all places. it’s amazing how businesses have diversified just to stay afloat.
After meandering for 5 hours we finally neared home, I’ve no idea if we got across the chart above or if Dan needed to spot something else on his way home. In the end it doesn’t matter, we had a great day and it was awesome to interact with another person, to share the thrills and near spills of the ride and to just talk crap all day just because we could.