From finishing work at Christmas time I had a plan to get up early every day and go for a pedal this would also aid doing the Rapha 500 on Strava.
A plan is all it ended up being, tomorrow never came and many z's were had
Next plan was to ride New Years day to start off my epic cycling year, that didn't happen either.
Friday the 2nd
Success, I got out for a ride, this was however a little silly in some respects as i had entered a 200K audax for the 3rd, normally riding up until a few days before was my routine, not having weeks off and then going out the day before.
This mattered not as it happened, I went for a jaunt on my DIY bike riding up to Windsor then carried on along the Windsor Triathlon cycle route. I chopped off a little of these taking a detour down the flat straight section of the course missing out about 8k probably.
Weather was kind, a little blowy but it was nice to be out.
On the way back through Windsor Great Park I decided to go off piste a little where one of the car park entrances were. This turned out to be far from normal cycle track, fortunately my bike can cope with mud and sludge without much bother. I was glad to have explored these hidden paths though as having passed them many times commuting in the past i had wondered if there was an alternative route I could take which would ovoid motorised transport. Now after many years of wondering and as my current employment comes to an end (volunteered for redundancy) i can wonder no longer.....I have not been missing out all these years at all, more dead ends than chain smokers ashtray.
Having had some trouble with my knee since L'Eroica this was also a little test to see if the christmas rest period had paid dividends, I was please to get home without even so much as a niggle.
Early start having packed everything the night before, I was off once again to Tewkesbury for the start of Mr Pickwick's January sale 200K audax. Coincidentally on this occasion the wife, kids and inlaws were also travelling to Tewkesbury for a surprise birthday tea party, the surprisee (if that's a word) being wife's aunty Heather. Alas my plans would mean that i would be there and then still pedalling before, during and after of said surprise party.
Arrived at the usual car park not long after cycling buddy Ron, he was already in the witherspoons when i got there but i unloaded and joined him soon after, Tim Tom was not to be joining this adventure as he had lost his trousers.
Having opted for the later of the 2 start start times we had managed to miss a downpour, this was to be short lived though and the rain ebbed and flowed between chucking it down and raining quite a bit.
We managed to stay with a large lead group, occasionally dropping back back but then digging deep to catch up the speedy pack. This was great for time but not for the legs, no time for my usual 25k snack stop either but i did manage to eat something on the run at about 35k. We got to the first major control in about 2 hrs this was quite speedy for me on an audax as it was just over 50k in.
A great cycling staple of egg and beans on wholemeal bread with a cup of tea was savored whilst we both attempted to dry out our dampened attire. Spirits however were good.
That is until we ventured outside into the pouring rain to discover Ron had a flat tyre. I went through my usual routine of criticising the poor tyres in question, a pastime I normally reserve for Tim. Ron's response wasn't witty enough for me to continue the berating so I let him get on with the repairs.
By the time we ventured out again 1hr 24 minutes had elapsed, a record even for me I think. The weather had eased and the sky was looking brighter (dark grey had gone to not so dark grey)
We had covered very little distance and my feet were seriously cold, my hands too but I expected both to warm up as the pedalling increased.
5k after the control and my hands were ok but my feet were colder, this realisation was at the same time as 2 riders went the other way saying they were 'packing' meaning they were going home.
I quickly said to Ron what a good idea I thought this was. Conveying such ideas was also one of my routines which usual meets with some banter from Timbo, however Ron's replies were sensible and matter of fact, spoiling my fun for further negative discourse.
This was until I started to realise that my feet were actually dangerously cold, I felt fine in myself, reasonably energetic, hands and body all plenty warm enough but man, my feet were cold.
I reported this fact to my compadre, to highlight the severity of my feet situation i compared them to when we did a truly, freezing bikepacking adventure in deepest darkest wales. I had never before and hope to never again use this comparison but I would like to think that Ron understood that I wasn't looking for a feeble excuse to bail. I had little sensation in my feet from the ankle down.
We stopped under a dual carriageway underpass and stated my intention to bail. We were approximately 62k in, I had a change of socks and gloves, it was daylight and the weather improving. Returning to the start and reaching my car before the sun went down seemed like a good option. I was worried that with the sun going down my fee would suffer more. i would also kick myself if they warmed up nice and toasty with no further issues.
I backed the right horse.......stopped at the 50k control again to warm up and set back the way i came, maybe not the most direct but at least I could follow my GPS.
My feet were freezing all the way back, from within 10 minutes of leaving the control i had no feeling in them until an hour after finishing.
The ride back despite this though was delightful, the weather, true to the forecast was rain free and the views were now a delight without the dark black clouds overhead.
I had messaged relevant peeps and realised that with a bit of a push i could get back to the family tea party.
This is indeed how it played out. Although I bailed and suffered incredibly cold feet which weren't normal at all for the following 24hrs i still had a great day, still put in some biggish k's at 122k ish, rode through some lovely views and spent a lovely evening with the inlaws family who are always good company.
No further bicycling despite the best of intentions, instead more z's were had
Distance this week 157k
Distance this year so far 157k
Weekly average 157k