Map reference: Wimbledon to Ashtead and back, 60k
Carbs and Caffeine: Cafe Bean http://www.bikebeans.co.uk/, carrot cake
It was cold today, but dry. Having gone back into the house once to get my Garmin, I couldn’t bear to go back in for my hat – not my helmet, I had that and would never ride without – and had to risk brain freeze. Luckily I was wearing a muffler, albeit thin, and was able to get the ears covered. They’re the bits that will actually fall off if frozen, after all.
As it was, I was warm enough, with just a bit of toe-lossage. Even my hands were relatively ok, so I think it was slightly warmer than the 4 degrees we had been warned of. And there was no wind. That was the major difference with last week’s ride. There was even some thin sunshine at some points. All in all it was a very encouraging day. I think we all felt strong. It was like one of those wonderful skiing days, when the sky is blue and the snow is perfect and you feel finally feel at one with your oh-so-parallel skiis.
Bike Beans did us proud as usual. Bealsey http://bespoke-velo.co.uk/ has managed to persuade the owner to have his holiday promo video going round on a loop on one of the televisions. Good work, Bealsey, I’m impressed.
Note to self: Why are your shins hurting? That’s a running injury. Peddling wrong again?
Map reference: The Ripley tea run, an old favourite, 70k, flat
Caffeine and carbs: The Nest, Ripley
Jacqui and I had big plans, today, to use part of last week’s Windsor route and create a loop from home, incorporating Elm Nursery in Sutton Green. It would be a new pitstop for Jacqui and give us another winter ride for our collection. But I spent so long last night trying to work out how to hook up the ride that I had a hurty head by the time I went to bed. And every time I closed my eyes, I found myself following the route – left, quick right and straight on – so it was not a good night. I was quite glad when it became clear in the morning that Jacqui wasn’t feeling like a long mystery tour and we decided to treat ourselves to an old favourite instead. Rob, Jacqui’s husband, came too. Obviously the lure of Nest cake works for him too.
It was the right decision as the weather was distinctly dodgy, with gusty winds knocking us about and tree litter strewn all over the roads. Outside the Black Swan near Cobham, there was a branch across the road that could have been laid out by a sabateur if I had a suspicious mind.
At least I was warm enough, in part due to my new gilet, bought second hand for a bargain £5. Unfortunately, this evening Husband tried it on and he says it fits him perfectly and being white will be good for his commute. So I can say goodbye to that. I shall have to go back to my source…
Note to self: Do not leave nice kit lying about where it can be seen…
Map reference: Wimbledon to Walton-On-The-Hill
Carbs and Caffeine: The Grey Dove Village Cafe, Walton. thegreydovecafe.webs.com
I am very relieved to have tested my winter wheels, especially as I had had my doubts about my husband’s fitting of them. I was worried that, since he had also changed the cassette, the chain wouldn’t fit. But it seems I was wrong. In making the swap he discovered that I had been riding the wrong cassette for my summer sportives, the Dragon Ride and Etape Cymru. How we laughed. I tell you, I’m going to insist on all the gears possible for the Etape Du Tour. Oh yes, I hope you are reading this, Husband.
Anyway, with our sensible winter-ride heads on, Jacqui and I decided to repeat the route that Bealsey (Bespoke-Velo) showed me the week before. Jacqui downloaded the map I had recovered from my basic Garmin to her more advanced Garmin and we were off. There’s a lot of weaving but it’s a good route through south-west London and I am going to try to commit it to memory. I’d much rather do this than go round and round Richmond Park for fear of traffic. After about an hour we were out in our familiar Headley and Box Hill area. There was flood litter all over the roads. My winter tyre has a large gash on the back wheel which I worry about. The occasional flat is inevitable, but you always think, please not this week. And today, my prayer was answered. We had a lovely ride, round the back of Box Hill, up the zigzag and past our normal tea stop at the top. We had a few mouthfuls of soggy jam bagel as we went, but were desperate for our cup of tea as we carried on. After another 15 minutes or so we finally got to Walton-On-The-Hill, a really lovely village. Several good looking pubs, some interesting shops and a beautiful church. And the Grey Dove. My second visit, I can recommend it. Good coffee (I can drink any tea, but coffee has to be good). The homemade cakes were delicious too. Bakewell tart this time for me. The place was full, as it was last time, it’s obviously a badly kept local secret.
Note to self: Must see if I can follow a route using my Garmin 500. It is supposed to be possible….