Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Pedal Paddling

Pedal  paddling
29th March 2016
After a week that saw me more relaxed about either running or cycling as no ‘hard’ events in the pipeline other than the 100km ‘Coastelet Audax’ down at Wareham on the 3rd April, I did a 9 mile run, which I found hard and it was though I had never run before rather than 2 weeks since I ran 20miles and only 4 days since another 9!! So not sure what this fitness lark is all about? Fortunately I also did a couple of 30 mile rides on my Titanium bike which felt good after a winter on my Ribble.
The settled weather came to an end with heavy rain and winds as the Easter weekend approached. We had a day with the grandchildren on Thursday, the twins doing well and the granddaughter still as lively as ever!
Saturday saw us enduring storm ‘Katie’ with high winds and torrential rain overnight into Sunday, but given Sundays forecast was much better I decided to take advantage and get a few miles in ready for next weekend.
It was an ominous start as I descended down the lane away from the house, when after a mile or so, the ford which is usually very shallow was a raging torrent about 2 feet deep!! I walked across the very ‘slim’ footbridge at the side before remounting to ride up the hill against more fast flowing water, at least it was shallow. I was heading out onto the levels, probably not the best place after the storm of the night before, as I was to discover later to my cost!!!
As I approached Martock from South Petherton I came across my first ‘road closed due to flooding signs’  so was diverted around the pretty village of East Lambrook and headed down some every wet, and dirty lanes, covered heavily in gravel with the run out from the gutters.
I went through Muchelney and was pleased to see the very expensive road was still open, some water in the fields but the water in the River Parrett was up to the roof of the bridge and was about to burst its banks, the measure at the side showed it at least 9 metres deep!!
On I went and turned on the Langport to Hambridge road, two cyclists drawing my attention by shouting something, but I didn’t hear what they said, discovering at the entry to Hambridge the road was well flooded, cars were ploughing through, appearing to cope with the water, even though it looked a little deep to me, when it was clear I decided to give it a go and ‘half peddled’ my way through to keep my feet dry, the water only coming about a quarter way up my wheel. Although it was fast flowing over the road and I did feel my front wheel being pushed over, this is the first time I had ever seen it like this clearly the River Isle well in full flow with all surrounding fields well flooded. Fortunately its uphill to the village of Hambridge before turning off towards Isle Brewers!!! [clue in the name!]I expected it to be flooded as we have cycled here before and found it flooded near the old mill just outside the village, the water was ok once again, not too bad, half way up my wheel, but clear of the hubs and bottom bracket, it was only when I got through that and into the next stretch towards Fivehead,  I met my match!!! I entered the flood, ok, going well and then noticed the fast flow of water from the flooded fields, from the overflowing River Isle [ I went over earlier] the water got deeper, too late!!!! I could feel the water pulling my front wheel and it was difficult to hold the bike, the water was also getting considerably deeper, I couldn’t go back as I couldn’t turn round without the force of the water knocking me off!!! The water was now up to my knees well over my Bottom Bracket, I was now ‘pedal paddling’ and peddled on, then also realised it went on for the next 50 yards or so, what a situation to find myself in, there were no warnings, no roads closed signs, yet no cars either. I pushed on the water very cold as it washed around inside my over boots, my thoughts were for my bottom bracket and hubs as well as my cassette. I finally exited the water with great relief, I stopped and shook my bike, tipped to one side to allow water to run  out etc.
What an experience, I ensured I stayed on high ground for the rest of the way home, noting that I had to cross the ford near home once more, fortunately the water had sub sided to its normal level so was just a puddle once again. I was glad to get home, my feet were very cold and the head wind home was most uncomfortable, I was just hoping I hadn’t done too much damage to my best bike!!!

40.2 miles covered over a very wet and windy ride, one I hope won’t cost me for new hubs, bottom bracket and cassette!!
Tuesday – the bike seems alright, bearings sound and feel ok, I hope the ‘sealed’ bearings actually meant that especially after, a metre of water over them!!

Spin class tonight and then an 10 k off road run tomorrow   round Neroche with my running partner up the lane. Perhaps a ride on Friday before the Audax on Sunday. I hope the weather and roads will be kinder! And I also hope my bike will be ok, I will give it a good clean before Sunday and check out the bearings once again. I think I have learned my lesson, don’t go over the levels after very heavy rain, or at least think about my route a little more.

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