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Cycling 2023

Started by Slim, January 02, 2023, 09:13:23 PM

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The last day of the Christmas hols and a dry, sunny and fairly mild one although the roads were still a bit wet from rain yesterday.

Hoped to do about 40 miles though I did think I might just stretch that to a fondo. With a light wind coming from the west I decided on the Lower Westbound Route, out through Lullington, Edingale and King's Bromley. Quite nice out there and I seemed to have plenty of energy despite hoovering a few Scotches last night so I kept going up through Abbots Bromley to Bagot's Wood, where I decided to turn back after 32 miles.

I took a wrong turn on the way back after Abbots Bromley but that was fine. I followed a sign to Yoxall and I knew that would take me back to the usual route eventually. Actually quite a fortuitous mistake. Hadn't done that stretch of road between Abbots and Yoxall before. I quite liked it.

What wasn't quite so fortuitous though was that, no doubt prompted by taking an unusual route into King's Bromley, I missed the turn there and went some way off course, to the south. With the sun due to go down before long I resorted to Google Maps. I plotted a route to get back on track that involved a two mile stretch of A38. I wasn't thrilled about that, but I reasoned that the Bank Holiday traffic would be light, and fortunately I didn't get killed. I did get beeped at a couple of times. But it's perfectly legal to ride a bike along there. It's just not particularly sensible.

Back the usual way after that and home on 67.79 miles.

I listened to Adrian Chiles on 5 Live, then Rangers v Celtic. Then LBC.

This year's target is 4540 miles, which would maintain my average of just over 20km per day since Jan 1st 2015.

I ticked two of the neighbouring counties boxes with this ride; Derbyshire and Staffordshire.
February Wordle league table here


First ride of 2023 under my belt. I'm now jiggered. Reading around a lot of cyclists seem to be struggling with the after effects of some virus or other. It's certainly given me a good pasting.

Did more or less the same ride as last Thursday, but with a second ascent to Linacre Water. I must be improving a bit as I was a fait bit faster on the ride, but it could just be that it wasn't as strong a headwind.

20 miles done on the way to 7,500 but if I carry on feeling like this I'll settle for 5,000!


This afternoon's mission, should I choose to accept it - was to do at least 33 miles, to tip the January total into treble figures. And with a strong wind coming from the west I decided to go up over Swarkestone Bridge and west along the Beloved A Road. The "Upper Westbound Route", as I call it.

I did that as far as Derby Airfield, then turned back. Dark by this time. I'd done about 18 miles. The headwind had been a real irritation, but it was a joy in tailwind mode. Very mild out there, as well. I do enjoy gliding along the A road in the dark.

Decided I wanted to do something a bit different on the way back down so I detoured through Wilson. Only ever done that two or three times and I didn't know the way back but I was less than 9 miles from home after Melbourne so I wasn't going to get seriously lost. I rolled through Breedon, then Worthington and Newbold. Hadn't been through those latter two locations for years. Used to do them quite often five or six years ago, on my old hybrid.

Bit spooky out there in the dark between Breedon and Worthington, mostly because I didn't really know where I was, I suppose. But I rejoined the usual route shortly after Newbold.

I used my Canmore GPS tracker, something I bought on a retail therapy whim years ago. Glad to see the internal battery's held up nicely. It has a rubbishy little LCD screen that's hard to read properly on the handlebars but apart from that, it works well. I also tested a new watch that I bought for night cycling. Nothing fancy, a cheap Timex, but it proved to be nicely legible in the dark thanks to its bright white dial and high contrast hands, even without using the 'Indiglo' electro-luminescent dial function.

It was a clear night with a very bright Moon. Definitely added to the experience. Very enjoyable run out, only slightly marred (once again) by a few idiots in oncoming cars with full beam on.

One odd thing - I put my rear light onto flashing mode, but I looked down to check it a few miles from home and it wasn't flashing. It was stuck in "on" mode fortunately, but it didn't respond to the power switch. Couldn't turn it off. I had to take the batteries out for ten minutes after I got home to get it working properly again. Its little processor must have crashed!

Back on 37.87 miles.
February Wordle league table here


Second ride of 2023 and it's getting harder  :( I thought I was on the mend as my resting heart rate has started to drop back down to normal levels - it's been high 50s the last couple of weeks instead of high 40s, but was down at 49 last night - but once on the road it shot up! 53% of today's ride was Zone 5 maximum, my last ride before getting this lurgy had 0% in Zone 5. I don't like going into the red.

Anyway, I did extend the range today by going up to Linacre Water three times. It gets no easier. I just need a long dry spell to get a few regular 25-30 mile rides in to try and get back to "normal"


My cycling goals for today weren't overly ambitious, because rain was due over this afternoon and I was keen to avoid it, if possible. Also, the conditions weren't particularly nice - overcast and a little damp, with wet roads. With a stiff wind coming from the south, I thought I'd do 15 miles or so of the southbound route, then come back.

However - instead of turning right along Kirkby Lane after ten miles, I kept going as far as Desford. From there I found my way to Markfield, where I took this pic, along Altar Stones Lane.

I've only ever known Altar Stones Lane as a very quiet dead end; the location of a couple of farm houses and a cattery. There's no through road to anywhere else. But I've been nerding out over old OS maps recently, here:

It turns out that before the M1 was built, this road was the main road between Markfield and Coalville. Then when the M1 was opened in the '60s, Altar Stones Lane was connected directly to it. Traffic would have come barreling along here straight off (or toward) the motorway junction, about 200 metres from the bike in this pic. Then finally, some time in the '80s I think (certainly before I lived in Markfield in 1989/90) a bypass was built to take the M1 traffic out of the village, and the lane became the quiet, secluded little dead end that it is today.

I suppose the folks who lived along there must have been horrified when the M1 came along, then elated when the A50 bypass was built, after which their little corner of Leicestershire became quieter even than it was 100 years ago.

Came back home from Markfield an unusual way, through Stanton under Bardon. Very annoyingly, there was only one puddle of any significance along Stanton Lane, and I was overtaken by only one motor vehicle there, a white van. You can guess what happened. I should have stopped a reasonable distance from the puddle after I saw it in my mirror, but I thought I had enough momentum to take me past the puddle by the time the van passed me. I didn't. Of course it would have been nice if the van driver had tried to avoid the puddle, or slowed down a bit. Oh well.

As it happened a Biblical downpour was visited upon me about a mile from home, so in the end it didn't matter. I was soaked by the time I made it to the garage. But I gave the bike a good wipe down; I think it's cleaner than it's been for months now!

Back on 27.42 miles.
February Wordle league table here


I don't often ride on consecutive days but I didn't do a great distance yesterday and I wasn't going to this evening, so - with the weather looking iffy tomorrow, I decided to see if I could crank out another 30 miles or so. I do want to get the year off to a good start with a decent tally for January, so I can get the remaining monthly totals down a bit. Currently they're higher than last year.

I set off with no particular plan other than to go roughly west, but I'd decided to do a Twycross Bypasser within half a mile of setting off. So I did.

Quite cold out there, a bit colder than yesterday although I set off later in the day.

Nice view of Mars just above the horizon along Sibson Road, about half an hour after sunset. Very dark by the time I was pedalling along Gibbet Lane. Spotty rain for a few minutes near Shackerstone, but I wasn't bothered.

Listened mostly to 5 Live, and the reaction to Gareth Bale's decision to retire.

Back on 32.82 miles.
February Wordle league table here


Not been out yet this year.. when will it stop blowing a gale and bloody raining....
From The Land of Honest Men


What with general post viral fatigue and the bloody weather I thought I wouldn't get out again.
The weather forecasts have been shit too, oh, it rains when forecast, but it bloody rains when not forecast.

Monday, forecast for a dry morning, started pissing it down well before I even thought of getting my kit on.
Tuesday, pissed it down as forecast.
Wednesday forecast to be a dry morning. Went upstairs to get kitted up, from kitchen to bedroom went from sunny to pissing it down.

I was so thinking I'd be stuck indoors for the foreseeable future that I even set up the bloody Turbo Trainer and tortured myself on that for 40 minutes. Bloody awful.

Today, forecast to be a dry morning, managed to get kitted up and go out :) It pissed it down. Twice.  >:( Still, I managed to get in 25 miles for the longest of my three rides this year. It's bloody hard work still, I'd better start picking up soon.


Left work early, and with a strong wind coming from the west, decided on a Twycrosser. Wanted to do at least 34 miles, to get the January distance tally up to 200 miles. Did a fairly long version, with a detour to Orton and went all the way down to Fenny Drayton.

Really enjoyed gliding along Fenn Lanes with a tailwind in the dusk.

Just checked to see if I penetrated Warwickshire but nope, I merely flirted with it. I do believe I've still only done Derbyshire and Staffordshire.

Back on 38.86 miles, 205 done this year.

Hope the wind changes direction soon, I fancy a run out east.
February Wordle league table here


Weather looking a lot more favourable for the next few days..hoping to get out later
From The Land of Honest Men


Down here it's going to be rather cold for a couple of days from tomorrow. On the more positive side, as of today we've got a full half hour of daylight back in the afternoon.
February Wordle league table here


Finally managed out.. cold clear day slight breeze... stuck to tried and tested routes with a couple of roads that I had earmarked to try and see where they go at some point so today was the day..

33 miles was hoping for more but after about 25 I was pretty much done in.. next few days look to be ok so will try and get out again .. sunset at 16.21 tomorrow so might get an hour ...
From The Land of Honest Men


Decent weather, not too cold but with a possibility of rain in the afternoon. I set off just before 1100 to do some of the Lower Westbound route through Lullington and Edingale.

I got as far as Hill Ridware having done 25 miles, then decided to come back.

I actually wrapped up a bit too warm. Milder than I expected. Mostly sunny on the way out but patchy light rain and drizzle on the way back.

I was followed by a learner driver between Heather and Measham. I had about half a mile of visibly clear road in front of me, but she spent about ten minutes deliberating whether to overtake, and holding up a queue of traffic behind her.

I started a new audiobook, Ian Fleming's The Man With The Golden Gun. I read most of the Bond novels in the '90s but I skipped that one, because I'd already read it in the '70s. Nice to be reacquainted with it, it's a cracking story. Then I listened to footy on 5 Live, Chelsea vs Palace.

I don't often do a 50 mile ride without doing a fondo, but today was one of those days. Perhaps I should have but given the weather I don't feel as though I've missed out.

Back on 51.70 miles. 256 done this month. If I can get that up to 400 before February kicks in I'll be happy.
February Wordle league table here


A very cold day, but the temperature was just about up above freezing by the time I set off in the afternoon and the wind from the west was fairly light. Wasn't sure what to do really. I thought of going up to Derby but I didn't. I went up over Swarkestone Bridge via Top Brand, west along the A road as far as Willington, then I decided to try a route I'd thought of while poring over old GPS tracks, down through Repton, Hartshorne and Ashby.

Unfortunately this didn't turn out to be a great idea. The road between Repton and Hartshorne is gross, really lumpy and badly surfaced. This evening it was wet, as well. Especially annoying in the dark, even with a powerful front light. I was very happy to make it to Hartshorne, which is more familiar territory.

I think I may have done that road before, and made a mental note not to do it again. Unfortunately the cerebral ink with which I metaphorically scribble those reminders is prone to fading, these days.

Just checked and I did it two years ago tomorrow: "I don't think I'll do that route between Willington and Ashby again, or at least not between Willington and Hartshorne. It's very rural and quiet and almost reminiscent of the lake district, being lined by hills. But it's too climby", I wrote.

A few specks of snow near Swarkestone but otherwise no precipitation.

Back on 33.62 miles.
February Wordle league table here


Would have been nice to get out today. Lovely and sunny. Bit cold though and I'd got the squits.