It has been a couple of weeks since my last post, last weekend the black clouds in my mind descended and with that I was in no mood to do anything least of all write a blog or go out on a bike ride. The black clouds were linked to the wife lack of employment (impending lack of at the time) and the pressure such things bring (a stressful week at work did not help). Well I can report that she finished one temp contract on Friday starts another temp contract on Monday which is currently only for 4 days with a possible option for longer, plus and there is another possible temp contract in the pipe line. But as we have learnt, these options come and go quicker than rainbows (and there is no pot of gold at the end either), so I am not betting on anything.
So it was with some determination that I climbed on my bike at midday yesterday to go for a ride, the sunny warm weather forecast for Saturday morning turned out to be wet and windy. The rain stopped about 11am and most forecast were predicting showers with the rain coming back early evening. As I am a way bank holiday weekend riding I really wanted to get out and ride otherwise come next Saturday morning it would be 3 weeks since my last ride. The weather forecast for Sunday (today) was heavy rain and wind, (for once they were right) so I had to take my chance.
Before I went go riding I changed my tyres back to my winter mud tyres having fitted my summer tyres some weeks ago. Like the rest of the UK, since they announced a drought, it has not stopped raining. On taking the rear tyre off I found a very large thorn stuck in the tyre, the tyre was not flat so I guess the thorn was pretty well sealed in the tube only letting a small amount of air out of the tube. Because of the Sunday weather forecast I had planned to do a long ride on the Saturday, but with the morning rain I changed that to going on the clubs Saturday afternoon easy ride. But with black clouds looming I ended up leaving early for a ride on my own with the intention of getting back before the black clouds deposited anymore of there contents.
The local heath was just like riding in the middle of winter, mud and water everywhere, went wide in one corner, the bush grab my handle bars and steered me further into the undergrowth, fortunately I managed to get off the bike before being enveloped by the bush. I was not so lucky next time, going down a narrow trail my front wheel caught the edge of the sunken trail, as it was so muddy rather than ride up the edge the wheeled turned harder against the edge of the trail until the bike stopped and spat me out over the handle bars and in to the undergrowth, brambles make for a soft but prickly landing.
The creak I mentioned a couple of blogs ago was again missing, I have a theory on that, but I need to test that theory and wet weather is not the time to test it. Start tin to ramble so I am out of here
With the UK obsession with the weather you would of thought that the met office & co would be able to forecast the weather with some degree of accuracy. There certainly no need to to discuss their failing concerning our BBQ summer and mild winter…………NOT!
Friday’s forecast for us was rain, what we got, cloud, blue sky’s and sunshine. Today’s forecast, heavy rain shower in the morning clearing into the afternoon to give sunshine with occasional shower and light winds. Actual, damp grey cloudy morning leading to occasional sunshine, light rain shower (about 5 minutes) and winds between 18mph to 24mph.
They spend millions on satellites and we are no closer to forecasting it correctly than the guy with a rock and pampas grass in his garden. He looks out of his bedroom window first thing in the morning and concludes if the rock is wet, it is raining, if the pampas grass is swaying it is windy, if there is a shadow of the rock or pampas grass it is sunny………..you get the picture.
My interest in the weather today was based on the fact that it was supposed to be a good day today and a lousy day tomorrow. We almost did not ride today because the weather looked so miserable when we got up. But as we were being told that Sunday was likely to be a day of heavy rain and strong winds then I wanted to make the most of riding Saturday. Thankfully for us (the wife and thee) the forecasted rain this morning never turned up, the wind put in an un-welcome appearance and boy was it warm (when out of the wind). The only rain we saw was at 14:15 this afternoon as we were about to drive off from the New Forest.
The ride its self was not to bad a lot of standing water, must remember to keep my mouth shut when going down hill at speed, track water does not taste nice. We decided to do a shorten Linwood Loop in the New Forest. We started at the bottom of the South Oakley Inclosure (east of Burley), ride up to the Canadian War Memorial, then out towards the A31 going under the dual carriageway and then turning off towards Broomy Lodge and the Broomy Inclosure, then on to Linwood and the Red Shoot pub. We stopped at the pub for a nice sandwich and a drink, no it was coke in fact…….. and very nice it was to.
It was here that we had a problem, the battery in the GPS expired and the map of the route was in the car. I had only done this route once but fortunately remembered the directions to get us up onto Bratley Plain than back to the road under the A31 and back toward the War Memorial. Normally from here we would carry on past the War Memorial down toward the deer sanctuary and back to the car park where we started. But the short loop mean we go back down the track we came up on through the South Oakley Inclosure to the car park for a little under 17 miles with a few large hills (well they are to us).
Thankfully there was no problems with either bike this ride. If there is a chance I will ride tomorrow if not I will spend the day giving the bike a good clean.
Well it was yesterday afternoon when I came back from riding my bike, I was determined to go out riding to help with the weight loss. I had been out Saturday and that was a bit of a slow ride as the wife was not feeling to great so I felt I needed to go out again. Well Sunday weather was miserable, high winds and plenty of rain. I wanted to try out my new jacket to see how waterproof (or not) it was so now was the ideal time. I dropped the wife and son off for a bit of xmas retail therapy and headed for the local heath. The path across the top of the heath was windy as I had expected with the rain coming in at 45 degrees to my face but once I went down the slope at the other end I was sheltered from the wind but unfortunately not the rain.
It was not long before I started to have some close encounters of the muddy kind, nearly going through a hedge on one short steep decent, then a little further on there was a tree down across the path, in fact it was propped up resting on a shed leaving enough room to ride under it, at least I did on Saturday. Sunday as I ducked under the trunk my handle bar caught a branch sending me lurching into the deep mud, if only I had known this was to be a minor event compared to what was coming.
At the bottom of one slope was what can only be described as a lake, Saturday we both managed to ride through it, but with the over night rain it was now double the size, so I headed into it and then suddenly found myself in the middle of the lake in axle deep water losing momentum due to the clay bottom, I stopped and put my foot down, boy was that water cold.
Having paddled my way out of the lake (managing to keep one foot dry-ish) I set off along the narrow sandy single track, this included riding up what can only be described as a fast flowing stream, swollen by the rain of the past few days. I was just yards from reaching the point where the track widen outs and heads for home when I found myself making a close inspection of the heathland foliage, not sure exactly what happened accept I was on the deck.
I reached the return point and decided to take an alternative route back (it meant not going down a long slope and then having to climb back up an adjacent slope). I was soon riding back across the top of the heath this time with the wind and rain at 45 degrees to my back. All that was left was the muddy area where they had laid a new water main, this meant swapping from one side of the track to the other to keep out of the worst of the mud. The next bit was like slow motion, I found myself on the wrong side of the path and in a deep puddle, suddenly my front wheel disappeared, I am flying off the bike over the handlebars and I land on my side in the middle of the muddy puddle. I was absolutely soaking wet and covered in mud, I put my hand out in front of me and that disappeared into the mud, when I pulled my hand out my glove was covered in yellow clay.
I got up and retrieved my bike, remounted and rode the final half mile back to the car, I was absolutely soaked. When I got back to the car I took my trainer off and poured the water out of it, it is still soaking wet now despite sitting next to a radiator drying out for more than 24hrs.
But best of all I enjoyed every bloody minute of it