Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Bank Holiday Biking Bonanza

If anything ever was going to cure my post Australia blues it was this weekend. It was one of those that felt like a week off even though it was only three days. It started with us getting our new puppy, then a couple of good rides, then a family trip to the cinema to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and finally Sam and I had a great ride on the Silverstone circuit.

Ride one was an Andy Brown route with one missing ingredient...no Andy Brown. Actually it was strangely quite a low turnout and we only had one group!

During the week I'd been on a course with people from all over the country in Corby. They'd stumbled across Rushton and were surprised that there was somewhere 'as nice as that,' around here! This saddens me because a bit of exploring would have shown them that Northants, in contrast to it's mediocre towns, is stuffed full of beautiful villages, rolling countryside and quiet country roads perfect for road cycling. 

Out of Kettering we sped through pretty little Weekly and on to Geddington, a place with more history than you can shake a stick at! Then yeah we got to Corby. Yes Corby is a bit uneasy on the eye BUT the tag of unhappiest place in the UK is unfair. The other thing is we were back into the countryside before you knew it, onto another lovely village at Gretton and then down a fast descent to Harringworth where the impressive viaduct the 'Welland Owd' spans the Welland valley. Then we were out of Northants for a bit and into Rutland.

Those downhills are still my favourite bit (as long as the skinny lads get out of the way.) However the price you pay is the uphills. Another thing people on the course said was that they didn't think there would be tough hills around here. We were half a mile from Rocky Hill! Toughest uphill bit of the day was the Little Seaton segment where it's no surprise to see me ranked 1155th! Thankfully the group was patient and waited for me at the top of each hill.

With all this beauty around you have to wonder why I was in selfie mode, especially with my calamitous wonky eyewear. In the background Andy F is holding a can of Special Brew (not recommended for pre, during or post ride.) Some of us even had the wit not to fall for 'hold this for me?" Standard banter. On we rode around Eyebrook where everyone has a uniform. We have our lycra, then there was ramblers, bird watchers/twitchers (never known the difference,) and fly fisherman. All this followed another quality descent! Then through Middleton and on past East Carlton Park some of those Lycra Loonies took a left up school lane for added masochism. I got in granny and ground...This was a great ride and the perfect start to a weekend of riding. Thanks to all at C&DCycles CC for some top company!

On Sunday I felt it was time to get some MTB practise is. I have this crazy idea to have a go in a Friday Night Summer Series race and as KCC host one of these on May 19th it is time to get busy! So it was off on a tried and tested route on my tried and tested 29r. A quick trip through Weekly Woods put me back in historical old Geddington. I wonder what Edward longshanks would have thought of me leaning my bike against his tribute to his wife for yet another selfie? I do believe my head would have found it's way to a spike!

Geddington Chase is the star of this ride and as it's currently dry, it's well worth the effort. We used the chase earlier in the year when it it was swampy in parts. Those rides may have been funny but it's more fun when you bounce rather than sink! Because I wanted to beast myself a bit I turned round at the bottom and rode straight back up. Reports of a huffing puffing wildebeest are likely just to have been me...

On Monday SuperSam and I joined some of his KCC Cyclones teammates at Silverstone Racing circuit for a two hour charity ride. Due to Australia Sam hasn't ridden his bike much so this was going to be tough on him. It started with wheel envy as I fitted the Mavic Fulcrums' to his club loan bike. Sam was more interested in four wheel matters as he oggled at the Porshe garage on the way in and then the Ferrari and Aston Martin in our registration area.

It was a bit chilly at Silverstone with a biting wind. So we headed upstairs to a well laid out food, drink and activity area. We also found some of the Cyclones mums talking to Alice Barnes and her mum!

At 6pm we were allowed out onto that famous track. I've done this before so I knew how enjoyable the supersmooth tarmac is to ride on. Sam and I set off and I let him draft me. He was awesome. I got him up to 21mph in places and he completed 21 miles (7 laps,) in an hour and three quarters.

There was a nasty headwind in places but that also became a nice tailwind in others. Sam allowed me to have one last lap on my own at then end for a "fast lap." Well I tried but fast really would be a stretch! It was fun and Sam definitely deserved the KFC on the way home!

I'm going to finish the blog with a puppy picture collage...just because I can!

Happy Pedaling

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