Cycling’s not glamorous at this time of year…
The lords of the weather are in constant amusement at my desire to cycle, this winter. First, a good covering of snow lay on the roads for a couple of weeks, then freezing temperatures rendered the already wet roads ‘challenging’. Now, a metaphorical break in the clouds has seen me tempted out onto the roads. What a sucker I was.
Awakening early yesterday morning, I was galvanised into action and was setting off from the drive at about 8.50am. Swaddled in the ‘de rigeur’ set of base layer, tights, thermals and Walz cap, I headed off in a direction barely before considered. I took the back road to Stowmarket, then continued up Combs Hill and out into the countryside. This is where I hit one of my old favourite routes, which takes in a strongly Baptist hinterland where the roads are relatively high, open and unforgivingly breezy. I took in a couple of what are known locally as hills, and found myself in the wonderfully named Barking, where the main Needham Market – Bildeston road passes.
The aforementioned road, whilst in no sense ‘major’, is a high, fast and open road that lets you put the hammer down and clock up some miles. The advantage of taking it this way round is that you descend into Bildeston down a huge and exciting hill, before crawling up another one to leave the village.
By this time, as is its nature, the weather had subtly changed. A rotten, cold drizzly mist had descended such that my glasses were fogged and my body temperature reduced. I still has about 8 miles to go, and was on one of the most inhospitable, pothole-strewn and mud embellished lanes around, this one resplendent in manifold corners and inclines to boot.
Misery and suffering were the keywords from this point onwards. I got ‘the knock’ three miles from home, as a result of not packing the normal Lucozade rations. I crawled home, clocking up 35 miles at an average of 17.2mph (which is not bad considering the roads/weather/tiredness combination).