Sunday, 10 July 2016

Nice rides and catch up

7th July 2016
After a good ride on Sunday it was two days before we had to be anywhere for anyone!
It was 5:30 am on Monday, the sun was peeping through the clouds as I pressed my watch to start for an early morning run around the town. Some nice music playing in my ears I jogged down the footpath before turning to run up hill, I could feel that I hadn’t done much hill running lately, there was no wind, it was a lovely morning, short sleeve tee and three quarters tights. I was going well and started a downhill section before some nice flat bits to get the pace up. I was hot but comfortable, and the music giving me a real boost, that along with the lovely morning, peaceful and quiet with no traffic around. BUT! Coming past the recycling I was targeted by a rogue seagull, and felt under attack as it kept swooping down as well as dropping unmentionables! I looked around but wasn’t sure where the young ones were, he was clearly trying to protect. I was pleased to complete that section. I soon finished all my downs and the last couple of miles home is always uphill. I finally arrived home, bit breathless, rather hot, but feeling ok. 5.19 miles at a pace just over 9 minute miles – a really nice run and the first of two I planned for this week.
Monday also saw us visiting our favourite chippy in Sidmouth, the ‘Whitehorse café’ egg, chips and mushy peas  x 2, + 2 mugs of tea,  and change from a ten pound note. It was quite busy down on the coast with the tourist season in flow. Again it was nice to sit and while away time, looking out to sea and along the coast, even though the cloud was very low over the cliffs.
Tuesday the forecast was for a good weather day, M was hairdressing so I was able to spend the morning out cycling. With the forecast so good I opted for short sleeves and arm warmers. I took several snacks, expecting to do around the fifty mile mark.
I headed down to the cycle track once again and left at the bridge as before and headed through Dowlish Wake. I picked up the Roman Road the ‘Fosse way’ an ancient road running from Axmouth on the coast to Lincoln, a straight road!!! It was lovely descending down through Dinnington and the arrow straight road up to Lopen Head where an outstanding Roman Mosaic was discovered a couple of years ago. I went on through Stoke Sub Hambon, a village sitting underneath Ham Hill where much of the local Somerset cottages got the stone for building, turning right towards Martock I did my good cyclist bit and pulled over to let a coach get past, instead of having him on my tail for the next mile, However!! My good deed bit me as I pinch punctured after hitting a small pothole!!
I went on through Muchelney, and Drayton before turning off and the steep descent from the escarpment down to the levels and to Oath and Athelney, a stiff headwind hindered progress, but as I turned up through Athelney this became a tail wind and was much appreciated. I went through Stoke St Gregory and North curry before the zig zag descent down to Knapp and Ham.
As I got to the very busy duelled A358 Taunton Road I took care crossing as traffic was very fast, it was then a couple of miles climb up past Slough Green, a nice steady climb, the temperature was rising, and the sun was now shining, on through Curland and a lovely tail wind assisted ride along to Broadway before the 3 final climbs to reach home.
Over 2500 calories burnt, 48 miles covered at an approx. average of 14.5 mph. A lovely ride, roads relatively quiet given it was a working day, but the roads I use are the quiet back roads.
Wednesday saw us loading the van again for a three day visit to Gloucester, away by 5:30 am, the M5 was still relatively quiet, and the weather was good. Briarfields campsite was very busy, clearly holiday season has started. The twins were as lovely as ever as was grand daughter.

10th July 2016
After our return down the as usual busy M5 on Friday evening [traffic is bonkers past Bristol on a Friday for some reason, so if you are reading this and intend to drive down the M5 past Bristol on a Friday, beware its bonkers!!!] Saturday morning was a pleasant surprise to see a promising day weather wise. M met our daughter in Exeter so I was able to think about how to spend my day, cycling, running or DIY/gardening. No contest, cycle or run, very windy so cycling would be hard. Running? But where? Not been off road for some time, Neroche?,Quantocks? Coast ? perhaps an opportunity to test out the route for the 10k Jurassic coast run at West Bay? Or Beer Head? Not been there since the Grizzly.
I decided to go for Beer, As I drove down to the coast the cloud seemed to be sitting on all the hills and particularly the coast. I expected to be running in a damp but very warm atmosphere, even though it was also windy.
I parked up at Beer Head after struggling to get the ticket machine to accept my two one pound coins! Bum bag, packed, coat, drink, snack, gel and phone.
Door locked and it was away down the path towards Beer Head, it was late morning so the path was busier than I normally encounter, it was also clearly holiday season, I have run here over the winter and not met anyone in the 7 mile run. I set a good pace up to the ex coast guard station on the headland, the cloud was sitting quite low, but not too low to make it damp, I ran the length of the Head, very windy ‘off sea breeze’ and I didn’t see anyone until the gate above Branscombe where I met a large group of ‘older’ people walking group, It felt odd as I was sure I was older than them, and I thought they were surprised to see me, there were some comments that I didn’t quite hear, clearly aimed at me, good comments I am sure.
I descended down the steep hill to Branscombe, it was good to descend on dry grass, good downhill practice, I met a couple of women half way down, and we both commented, mine about not far to the top, theirs lucky thing going down!! I didn’t like to say I would be returning back to the top again later.
Branscombe was quite busy, people sat outside the café with their coffees, the café is normally closed when I go past. Then the steep climb up Branscombe cliffs, still a good pace, nice run along the top, quite overgrown in places with overhanging brambles and nettles. Down to the Fountain Inn to meet the road, the Fountain was one of the highlights of the Grizzly, with the crowds and live music and as we ran through the Beer Garden.
Down the road through the village, tourists dressed with ruc sacs and boots and of course the walking poles. It was a stiff climb up to the Caravan park before the climb up and down on the undercliff to the ‘stair way to heaven’. It was busy along the path and had to stop several times to let people pass, or pass other people, it was very dry today, but very hot and humid as it was sheltered from the wind. I soon reached the SW to H as usual a walk, at the top it was very windy, now just a mile or so back to the car park.
A lovely run today, 6.9 miles and 1200ft of climbing, weather was just right. I felt ok to say it was my first off road run for a couple of months. Only 1 hr 20 mins. A quick change, drink a handful of nuts and I was on my way home for a late lunch to spend the afternoon cleaning the top of the van as the skylight was looking decidedly green!!!
Sunday morning was a disappointment with very low cloud, murcky and damp, but warm!
My right leg calf muscle was quite sore, and pulled a little, it was to be a little tender for the rest of the day.
I was meeting Milke this morning and it was either Dunkeswell over the Blackdowns or down to West bay for coffee on the sea front, we opted for West Bay as the higher ground attracted the low cloud. As we cycled down through Winsham it was a head wind, the roads were quite wet, and the murcky conditions seemed to get worse as we cycled on through Broadwindsor and past Lewsdon Hill [hill fort] but once past there we could see we were now descending out of the cloud and by the time we got to Bridport the cloud had shifted and we were in clear conditions with occasional sun. On past the Sunday morning car boot sale [very quiet today??] continuing past the harbour and round to the harbour side huts selling coffee etc. We ordered coffee and tea and tempted by the carrot cake on the counter to replace the calories we burnt on the way down [ 17 miles worth]  
Pleasant sat in the sun, overlooking the harbour watching the world go by, discussing the developments in the Tour De France, Chris Froome had won the stage the day before!!!
It was soon time to turn for home, but we cycled to the sea front to look at the sea, the on shore wind causing quite a surf. It also gave me a chance to see the start of the hills for my Jurassic run in a months time.
We cycled back through Bridport before turning off at Broadoak to cycle back through the valley, past Shaves Cross and its haunted pub, stopping for an extra snack. We had expected it to be a tail wind, but as always, it was changing direction and the local hills causing it to move around, so not quite as good as we thought. We soon reached the 15% Bettiscombe hill, which we both sat in our lowest gear and took our time to the top. On over Sadbarrow and down past Ford Abbey and the Chard junction Creamery, now being demolished, this was one of the largest butter, cream, milk producers in the South West, now a half demolished shell, where have all the tankers gone too?? 40 miles I think to Bridgwater!!!.
We soon got home from there, 39 miles covered, 2181 calories burnt [ take off the carrot cake!] and 2746 feet climbed, bearing in mind we had to climb back up home from sea level.The wind had now increased, but at least the low cloud had now gone and there were glimpses of sunshine.

A fantastic ride, a good end to the weekend. Next weekend is the Devon Delight 100k Audax, we shall see in the week what the weather is doing and also whether we can enter late?

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