Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Another One Bites the Dust

Another Saturday, another 200km, this time the reverse of an earlier Mesh doing Tamworth, Stratford, Stow, Alcester, Measham, Tamworth.

The Mesh map would have this as being 213km, but going the opposite way round would have meant climbing some stoopid hills instead of descending them, so I took slight detours both to ease the climbs and divert to the better descents.

Saturday started cloudy but not too cold so I went with the fingerless summer gloves. By the time I had done 25 miles the cloud had cleared enough to give clear sky overhead, but not enough to allow the sun access to the road. The temperature headed down VERY rapidly. 10 miles out from Stratford, I could not even feel my fingers, and I haven't yet got the hang of cycling along with my hands down my bibshorts to warm them up. Besides, that sounds like a really good way of getting stopped by the Old Bill.

Further kilometers added to retreat to Costa in Stratford for food and warming coffee. 25 minutes later and some serious clutching of an oversize coffee mug had returned the feeling to the fingers. Leaving the coffee shop, the temperature was by now that couple of degrees warmer and the fingers were no problem for the rest of the day. I added kilometers to go round Chipping Campden rather than ascend the killer climb past the quarry, riding along 5 Mile Drive on the top of the Cotswolds to arrive in Stow well before midday and going very well.

A swift turnaround towards Alcester led to the choice of avoiding the descent of Saintbury Hill (narrow & slippery) in favour of Fish Hill (wide and long with sweeping 180 degree bends) where we did some training for the descents of last year's Etape. Brilliant. 40mph and catching cars round the corners.

Once out on the flat stuff, the hammer stayed down, and I passed through home on the way to Measham well ahead of schedule. 50 minutes later the ride was over, 9 hours and 50 minutes elapsed for 223km. My fastest 200km ride of the year and well over distance.

One more down, only one event to go.

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