I'm glad I went back for my sunnies, it was a very bright day, in fact I could've done with swapping from Orange to Black lenses. It was a total contrast from yesterday's rain but also it was cold enough for me to break out the base layer for the first time in months. Everyone was in varying degrees of additional gear with Martyn winning the Cub Scout prize for best prepared with leg warmers, boot covers, winter Jersey and full finger gloves. That would've been too much for me but then I still have
an excess of insulating blubber. It was cold though with frost on the grass verges. The roads were ok though so there's no need to retreat to the turbo trainer in the shed yet. Also it warmed up nicely and became the most beautiful day.
Justin was our leader for the day and he kindly responded to my selfish suggestion of a route back through Rothwell to get me home in time for family duties. Even more rude of me then to turn up late! The route we used was Steve's hill fest of a couple of weeks ago, also my suggestion and on the way round I once again questioned my sanity!
We set off at a healthy pace, well so I'm told because another error on my part was not charging my bike computer. I was wondering what else would go wrong. This route lulls you into a false sense of security until you get through Market Harborough and then boom its that hill into a East Farndon, from there it's downhill all the way to the hill into Naseby. I meant to do this last time but to give you an idea of that part of the route here's my blog of the Naseby battlefield ride I did earlier into the year: http://richardscyclingblog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/roundheads-and-cavaliers.html. Martyn left us at Naseby due to a family gathering.
From Naseby to Cold Ashby was a relief from the lumpy stuff and then through West Haddon and on to Ravensthorpe we got into a nice pace and rode in a tight group. Again though this was lulling us into a false sense of security. Out of Ravensthorpe, which is a beautiful village fully ticking my proper village boxes, we hit the lumpy stuff with three climbs of increasing difficulty. From Teeton to Spratton was hard, Spratton to Brixworth was brutal. That hill into Brixworth doesn't even look like it belongs in Northants with rocky outcrops and dry stone walls. As Justin accurately remarked, it looks more like the Yorkshire Dales.
Everything after that was easy really. There were still some uphill bits out of Scaldwell, into Old, up Mill Lane and from Loddington to Rothwell. I left the ride there as I'd already done the ride to the shop to start the day, the others obviously had the final pleasure of Bunker Hill.
The only downside of today's ride is the ominous sounds which suggest Clive may be about to need his third bottom bracket. Justin, with yet another accurate observation stated that these expensive FSA bottom brackets appear to be made of cheese! As ever though a swift message to the King Fiddler, Andy at c&dcycles and my trusty steed is booked in for an overhaul. I better make sure he's clean!
Another weekend, another brace of brilliant bike rides