Nearly one week back at work and my two weeks off over Christmas seem like a distant memory. But, I do remember they were two very busy weeks. A new nephew at the start, and my fecund wider family have just presented us with a new niece too. Playing Lego with my girls, last minute Christmas shopping, a day at the Norfolk coast (while the west coast was being battered by storms, the waters at Holkam were an unruffled sea of tranquility) , and of course, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, the New Year and a couple of other family get togethers in between. Somehow, among all this activity, my bikes got forgotten. I suppose the relentless Christmas storms may have helped, but for over two weeks I didn’t put foot to pedal.
So my autumn wind down ended with just over two weeks off the bike. Even when I broke my collar-bone, I think I was back on the turbo in less time than that. This Christmas I only went into the garage to get a beer, careful not to look at my turbo gathering dust.
My cycling fast finished unexpectedly on January 3rd. On the evening of Friday the 2nd, when we arrived home from the Norfolk coast, I had a number of missed messages asking if I could make a photo-shoot the next morning. An unusual request for me, but I thought, about time some agency recognised my ruggedly handsome looks for some outdoor clothing catalog. The truth proved more prosaic. The Hunts Post, my local paper, wanted me along for some pictures for an article to publicise an event that they and the local cycling clubs are organising (more on this at a later date…). At 9am I turned up at Huntingdon Football Club’s ground so that I could ride up and down Kings Ripton Road, with Tom a rider from St Ives, for some action shots in the cold, wet rain. Don’t be surprised if the smiles look a little forced.
Or perhaps not that forced for me. After two weeks off the bike, it felt good to stretch my legs and I regretted driving over, although, as the rain intensified on the way home, perhaps with hindsight in a parallel universe I might have had a different opinion.
That was Saturday, Sunday I had my first proper ride. Ok I was a little lazy. The route was heading my way, so rather than riding in to town first I opted for an extra half hour in bed and join them on route. Besides, given the super-saturated countryside and swollen rivers, given the choice of route, I was half expecting to have turn around due to flood waters.
Fortunately, the roads were free of flood water, but turning off the B645 in Staughton, we soon came across ice. Given a few of us have form with ice on that particular stretch of road, we ventured little more than a 100m before deciding to turn back for the Kimbolton road’s treated surface.
We headed north, in unusually dry and clement weather, across the A14 for a pleasant ride through the gentle rolling countryside of West Huntingdonshire. On the return a couple of us turned off for a mucky spin along the farm tracks around Grafham. By the time I got home, I was feeling the miles, but it was a joy to be back in the saddle.
Monday and Tuesday’s riding was a limited number of Boris bike miles, but on Wednesday I left the car at home and was back into the old cycle/train/work/train/cycle routine. However, the day wasn’t over, Wednesday evening is the club’s Turbo Sufferfest training evening. I want to start racing again soon, so it was time I went along…