Sunday, 4 April 2010

33mile bike ride training week4 (10 weeks to go)

Easter Bank Holiday weekend, 4 days at home, an ideal time to do some serious training.

Me & Mr Lisa thought that maybe one training session away from home (pack up the car, drive somewhere & do a stint) and one closer to home (start/finish at home).

Mr Lisa checked the weather for Saturday, all looked 'fine', he mapped out a journey (approx 15mile round trip) and we headed off.

Start/End points were Ellington, about 15miles north of us, we parked in their library car park (a library? you ask. A library indeed).
The weather seemed dry (if a little dull) and no wind troubles (snigger).

Set off just after 2pm and headed out of the village, off the main road, along an uphill track towards the sea, Lynemouth over to our right. At the sea we turned left and headed along towards Cresswell, destination Druridge Bay visitor's centre (some 7 miles up the coast. As we passed by the caravan site at Creswell the rain started, and got heavier, so much for that 'fine' weather. The rain got steadily heaver as we left the road and turned onto a track, puddly in parts. Half-way across we reached a field full of cows. just through the entrance gate was a 3x3 metre patch of thick, acky, sticky mud. Mr Lisa let me through first, not sure if that was to have a good laugh if I fell off, or put my foot down. Fortunately I somehow managed to get through the gate and cross the mud without putting my foot down! The rest of the field was grassy with the odd muddy/puddly patch, then we re-joined a tarmac road, which took us to the visitors centre. It was still raining when we arrived at the centre, just stopping to use the facilities, catch our breath and decided we'd head back and enjoy a cuppa tea back at home.

We left the visitor centre, and managed to miss our intended track, and tool a slight detour up through a field, trying to cycle up the hill, my wheels grappled with the mud, marsh and puddles, the top of the hill seemed to take forever, I was in the lowest gear and my thighs were burning, I was adamant that I wasn't going to stop until I'd reached the top, and bugger me I got there. I was pretty fucked when I arrived, panting and grunting, and gulping at my water bottle, but I'd got there. Problem was, we still hadn't reached the path we needed, and had to then cycle along the other edge of the field...I managed some of it, but not all of it, I did get off an push for half of it.

When we got to the end we found our intended track, a proper tarmac track, it was nice to be back on the road again. This looped us back on to the initial road we took, the bit that joined the cow-field and the sticky mud (again). I took the lead again, cycling through the mud and negotiating the gate, without putting a foot down, I held onto the fence, pushed the gate and cycled in through the gate (phew!).

The next (and final) part of the ride took us off the main road again, ending slightly differently to how we started. Mr Lisa slowed down, pointed along towards one of the nature reserves (a flooded pit/similar) and told me that our ride went along there, and if I wanted to go that way, or continue back the way we came? I chose the track by the pond, and we cycled along, the grass-track heading uphill away from the pond and into the hedge lined route. Argghh! Bog, marsh, mud, hill. It was horrendous, too slippy, hard on my legs and so slow, new bramble growth grabbling for the wheels, spokes and legs. I got off a couple of times and pushed, when we reached a flatter, dryer patch I'd get back on, I carried on like this for what seemed like an age. The sign at the turn off said Ellington 2 miles (it seemed longer). We reached another puddle, this wasn't a quick splash type of puddle it was a long (5 metre) puddle, stretching across the path, we couldn't go around it, Mr Lisa went first, he reached half way before putting his foot down, and pushing his bike, over his ankles half-way up his calf. I watched anxiously. Shit. Once Mr Lisa was safely through, I took a deep breath and walked though it, feeling the cold water fill my trainers, over my ankles and up my legs, washing the bramble grazes from my legs. It was squishy underfoot, the bike felt heavy and grasses on the path, slithered over my legs uughh.

We hopped back on the bike and cycled further, and reached something that I can only describe as a flooded stream. It was the path, but we couldn't see the end of it, completely covered it water, god knows how deep it was. I was about to start pushing my bike though it when Mr Lisa said, come on, we'll go over the fence. He'd spotted a gap, we could climb through the brambles and chuck our bikes over the fence, we did that, and spotted a gate on the other side of the field. We pushed our bikes over towards the gate, finding ourselves back in ankle-high marshy puddles and once though the gate, I told Mr Lisa off, telling him never to give me an option like this again, taking blame for finding ourselves knee-deep in water.

The track we found ourselves on took us off-road again, not as bad as before, but puddly and uphill. I was jiggered, and got off and pushed, once off here, we joined a proper road, back in Ellington Village, I gave it one last burst, my feet still twice as heavy as when I started and legs covered in little scratch marks, when I saw the car I felt elated. I'd made it!!

Mr Lisa got the cars back into the car, I took off my sodden socks and shoes and put some trousers on, we called in at the Farm Shop by Widdrington, Mr Lisa picked up some cake and we drove home to eat it.

The ride took a good 2 hrs.
15 miles long, but bloody ages to ride.
The weather started fine, turned to rain (heavy) and then lightened up and stopped by the time we reached the car.

Jiggered. Loved it. I definitely don't want to do it again though!!

Northern Rock Cyclone 2010
Saturday 12th June 2010, 33miles
Raising money for the RNLI, please sponsor me!

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