Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Easter weekend rides

Ugh, what a horrible long weekend. We had high hopes of a repeat of last year’s Easter break when we did an 80 mile round trip to Cambridge and enjoyed glorious sunshine, sufficient for a picnic on the Cam whilst punting. Various plans were discussed this year for a long ride to end in Oxford, a more direct return route to Oxford another couple to Cambridge. They were all abandoned in the face of the weather forecast.
However, we are determined this year, given our Etape objective, so we all met up at 0815 on Friday morning fortunate to take advantage of the longest period of reasonable weather over the whole weekend. It was however extremely windy, possibly the strongest winds in which we have ridden this year.
Mike, Paul, Andy M, Tim and I set off initially with a strong cross wind, but as we turned west, we hit the teeth of the gale. We did a repeat of the last two weeks’ ride, 72 miles going over Ivinghoe Beacon three times. Having had two puncture-free weeks, it was not to last. Within the first 25 miles we had three: first Paul, then Mike punctured twice just outside Berko where he decided to call it a day. I phoned the others who waited for me in Ashridge forest.
Andy was in a class of his own this weekend winning all three climbs over Ivinghoe and up from Redbourn. I did manage a small breakaway after the last climb of Invinghoe, sprinting down the straight from the top just tipping 40 mph (thanks to the following wind) and catching a rider a half-mile ahead. I waited at the top of Bison for a few minutes, longer than I expected, but Tim had had cramp (or that was his excuse anyway (;-)).
Paul and Tim were mad enough to contemplate more and were out again for short rides on Sunday and Monday respectively, but were beaten back by the snow. Let’s hope for warmer times ahead.
As we have steadily increased the rides, Tim and I have had the first injuries (not counting minor falls), both of us seem to be suffering from hip problems. My self-diagnosis suggests ITBS, but who knows. Strangely, it felt better after the Friday ride, having been tender the week before it now feels just slighted stiff.


Anonymous said...

Hi Simon and the rest of the Etape Virgins - we managed to get over to Brill on Sunday 30th and clocked up 60 miles but would be very happy to catch up with you guys again so please add us to your mailing list Regards Alex (Colin and i rode with you on 15/3 ride) -

Anonymous said...

Hi Simon & the rest of you Etape Virgins, Al said you had left a message for me. Sorry I've taken so long to get back to you. My e-mail address is:

Sounds like you've been having fun with the weather. Al & I are doing a dry run of the 10m TT tonight along the Leighton Buzzard road, the week before Hemel starts them Thursday nights proper. Fancy joining us ? You have to be a member of a club to make the start.

Keep us posted about future rides.

Best wishes,