Not a great week for getting out this week with heavy showers and blustery winds. However, I did manage to get my 50 miles in on Sunday morning, a very chilly ride back to full tights, windstopper top and full fingered gloves. Bank Holiday Sunday the roads were very quiet, helped by an early start as rain was forecast later. I did my Athelney route which has some ups, downs and some nice flat bits in the middle along usually quiet back roads, surfaces not too bad given the poor winter winter weather. Unusually I didn't see many other cyclists out, perhaps I was too early? it was an enjoyable ride with the scent of wild garlic strong as I cycled up the hills near Curland. It was interesting to see more houses up for sale in the pretty village of Ham, not surprising since it regularly floods. I stopped on the bridge over the River Tone in the village of Athelney, for a snack [see photos] this is just below where King Alfred sheltered and allegedly burnt his cakes, nothing remains of the abbey just a memorial stone and farm buildings, but a beautiful spot to linger and think back to those times when it was marshland and small islands, perhaps there's a clue as to why it floods so badly today!
View towards Athelney hill and the King Alfred memorial
I continued on to Langport and Muchelney again, cattle now in fields covered by flood water up to 6 feet deep a few weeks ago! all the hedgerows are in full bloom now, the Hawthorne with its overwhelming cat pee smell, lilac is out in the gardens, dandelions galore, floodwater doesn't seem to have bothered them. I also notice several farmers cutting silage.
The 3 climbs back over Crock street don't get any easier and the temperature was still not great even though the sun was shining. the 50 miles was good to get in and confident that the 100k [really 65 miles] round the New Forest on Sunday [tomorrow] will be manageable.
Bikeability again this week at a village at the foot of the Quantock hills, a lovely spot, we only got wet once! several bike checks provided a challenge to get brakes working not to mention the bike with a 'lump' in the wheel rim side, liberal smacks with my hammer managed to get it a little smoother so the brake blocks didn't grab as the brakes were applied. 3 out of twelve bikes checked, had loose handlebars this time, strange how they can ride them without noticing.
Wednesday saw us on a day out at Tyntesfield House near Bristol. A fantastic National Trust property full of interest - lived in until 2001 before being sold with all contents, so the house is as it was, an eery composition of the old world with a Lord and Lady living alone in the very large House that was 'buzzing with staff and visitors' before the first world war. A pleasant lunch in the cow shed! the house has beautiful wooden doors and ceilings and a very large chapel attached to the house.The house guides gave a real insight to the lives of people that lived and worked in the house, the fortunes of the owners built on bird poo! the grounds were stunning with fantastic views around. I think another visit is needed.
A Neroche run on Thursday ensured I at least kept up at least one run a week. Despite not running for over a week, I managed a good pace and felt ok, 7 miles covered, very muddy in places after heavy rain, bluebells all out now , I really enjoyed it despite the blustery head wind on the way back, at least it didn't rain.
Finally on Friday I picked up my new Quorz cycle frame from Cheddar cycles, I am very pleased with it, nicely engineered, very light. Now I need to source the bits to go on it! after searching the internet and looking at various options I think I have decided to go Ultegra 6800 groupset with a compact 50/34 chainset and an 11 speed 11-32 cassette, this should give me low enough gears for what I want and the quality of Ultegra which I think the frame deserves. Andy has said wheels will be ready next week [I hope he keeps to his word]. Off to Cornwall on Monday for a few days in the Van so cant order anything at the moment and cant afford it either !!!
Got to get my bike ready today, re attach mudguards and I think I will put my saddle bag on to take my waterproof as showers are forecast for tomorrow. Also need to sort the van out and make sure the tea bags are in etc.