“The sun should make an appearance during the afternoon as the cloud breaks from the north to leave a mainly clear evening, the nagging North Easterly wind will ease as the day progresses” The daily weather forecast was music to my ears and my morning reconnaissance run to the local recycling centre had confirmed the roads were at last dry, what a treat to go out and not come back plastered in mud and having to hose down the bike. A regular 20 mile circuit will provide enough of a workout to keep me honest to the training schedule I am on for an upcoming coast to coast ride.
On turning out of the drive I am immediately struck by the north wind that doesn’t seem to have dropped too much to me but as I am heading south-west it is at least behind me for the first half of the ride. As I turn left into Wyck Road the pedalling seems effortless and a quick glance at the GPS gives me a speed of 18mph, this is good speed for me and as we are in a Strava segment I have the urge to put in a bit more effort to attack my PB, the legs feel good the adrenaline kicks in and I am on a roll until I come across traffic control in the form of a couple of arborists carrying out surgery on a large oak tree. A forced stop scuppered any records being broken but there will be other days. I do like Strava, there have been so many segments created that nearly every ride you do will include a couple and while I am never going to trouble the leader board even on a leisurely ride you can target a section for your own King Of The Mountains glory.
Crossing the B3006 and a traffic free run all the way to Farringdon, my “Fill That Hole” report must have found a sympathetic ear as a series of deep pot holes has disappeared enabling unimpeded progress and good speed with the following wind. At the A32 a right turn and a headwind all the way back to Alton. Having just settled into a steady cadence I am again interrupted by traffic control and yet more tree felling, rather cynically I wondered if there was some government grant available at the moment for tree work. At Alton some shelter from the wind it was all going well but my ride was interrupted by first being tooted and then the same car telling me to get in the cycle lane provided, the window was wound shut and frustratingly it sped away before I had chance to explain that the cycle lane was in such a bad state of repair that I was actually in danger by using it.
I was still seething from my unexpected berating as I entered Holybourne and decided to relieve some stress via the Brockham Lane climb, a testing ascent used by a lot of local clubs for their hill climb, fortunately on this occasion it was deserted so no embarrassment to be suffered at the hands of some young greyhound. Definitely no heroics here just bottom gear and a long grind for 1.7 miles but another personal goal achieved and the view from the top of the North Downs was stunning looking back over Alton towards the distant South Downs.
From our high point we head east along the spine towards Froyle and I do not believe it as I come across more traffic control and tree work with a machine spitting wood chips into the back of a truck while two guys in full protective gear are doing their best to quell its insatiable appetite, The descent off the Downs is quick and uneventful and it always helps the self-esteem when you can overtake another bike even if as it transpires there are shopping bags on the handlebars. The final climb back to our starting point and twenty miles at a very respectable for me 15.5mph including a couple of descent ascents, a personally satisfying training ride even if it was spoiled somewhat by one very impatient motorist. It was an added bonus not to have to immediately clean the bike and I am still wondering why so many tree surgeons were allowed out on the same day.