Saturday 17 December 2016

A Rather Foggy Ride
Saturday 17 December, 32 Miles

Click here for Route Flyby

Well it’s been a while since I lasted posted on here. I have been out and about riding a bit, though with the recent downturn in the weather and a surge of other things requiring my attention I’ve also been keeping my legs loose on the turbo trainer in my garage. This is ideal in the sense I can jump on it without much faffing about if the mood takes me or the opportunity arises. I tend to spin a high cadence (90-100 rpm) for about an hour with a few bursts at a higher intensity or greater effort (by upping the resistance). My turbo is a basic one (an Elite Travel) and is now about 15 years old – it still goes quite well but is getting rather noisy as the bearings wear. I do have a more recent one too but have yet to put it to use in anger! I’m not (yet) a convert to Zwift or Watopia or similar virtrual riding.

Now, as anyone who has ever done time on a turbo will appreciate, there are two problems – sweat and boredom. The sweat, and I sweat a lot, requires a supply of towels. Simples! I try to overcome the boredom by watching DVDs – ideally boxsets that I have been given as presents – Scandi Noir thrillers being my favourites. The only downside is that as I get engrossed in the screen my cadence tends to drop off. I’m sort of thinking that I need to invent a gadget that I can link between my Garmin and my posterior so that I receive a small electric shock if my cadence falls off too much. Only kidding!

At this time of year, with shorter days and often dark clouds overhead, I sometimes find it difficult to motivate myself to get on the bike. The irony is that within minutes of getting into the saddle and pedalling I’m just as happy as I am at other times of the year. The key is just to get on with it and resist the temptation to have another cup of tea or invent a distraction.

This morning I was up and ready for the off by 9:00am – early enough to get a good morning’s riding in but late enough for daylight to have worked its magic. Well that’s the theory. Unfortunately, I discovered that the rear tyre of my winter bike had a slow puncture. Closer inspection revealed a fairly substantial cut in the tyre so I was going to have to fit a new one. The old one had done about 5,000 miles over the last two winters without any other punctures so I guess that’s not too bad going.

The roads around here are pretty mucky (being polite about it) as the sugar beet harvest is in full swing and Old MacDonald and his tractor deposit a film of the brown sticky stuff all over the tarmac. With little sun and moist, damp air recently, the road surfaces have not had a chance to dry out. So, it’s often a case of a bike wash and clean up after each ride. After yesterday’s ride I gave my winter bike a full clean up including treating it with some silicone spray to hopefully repel the water.

With a new tyre and tube installed and a mug of coffee inside of me as a consolation I was ready to go. I could see that it was going to be misty so I decided to change my intended route slightly. However, as soon as I left the village the mist turned to quite dense and wet fog with visibility down to about 20 yards at best. I had chosen to wear some light enhancing glasses today (yellow lenses) and within about ten minutes they were covered in a film of minute water droplets making seeing where I was headed even more difficult. But having got on the bike I was determined to keep going. My Gabba jacket, which I had recently reproofed, was also covered in a thin film of shiny droplets – a good sign as it meant that the damp wasn’t getting in.

In a perverse sort of way, I quite enjoy riding in the fog. I’m not entirely sure why this is. I do sort of like the sense of being cocooned in my own little world, especially when the roads are quiet. Distances between places seem to take on a new dimension and of course there is plenty of scope for surprises to emerge from the fog. Today’s surprise was a Christmas display outside a house that I passed. In fact, I was so wrapped up in my own little foggy world that I was a few hundred yards past it before I registered what I had seen so I turned around and nabbed a photograph. That’s now going to become an objective for the next few rides – trying to spot the most outlandish Xmas display I can find. Hopefully the prospect will provide all the motivation for getting my legs in gear over the next couple of weeks …….. watch this space.

Shortage of time, the delayed start and other things meant that today had to be a shorter ride than I would otherwise have liked. But when I got home I discovered that the silicone had done its stuff. All my bike needed was a quick wipe down to remove the moisture. And joy of joys, my baselayer under my Gabba was as a dry as an old bone. I can’t praise the Gabba too highly – in these damp conditions it is a great water repellent and being windproof too means that I don’t need to wear loads of constricting layers – even when the average temperature on the ride was 4oC.

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