I finally got out on the trusted road bike on Monday. This after the cobwebs had been thoroughly dusted off and it had been into see Mitchells Cycles for a service. Once they had given it the all-clear, the Felt Z100 with striking white tyres was ready to hit the roads once more! The bike has seen some undulating landscapes in its short career, not to mention the Mendip Hills (memories like the corner of my mind), so it is well versed when it comes to a long stint on the tarmac.
My weekend was a busy one - it was an early start on Saturday morning! I was up and on the trail for some new shoes and a tie (lost mine on my recent house move) for the Wedding of my best Friend from School, Gavin Pike. The ceremony was held at Wroughton Church and I was really hoping the sun would make an appearance for both Gavin and his lovely bride Katy on their special day. After a cloudy start with a few showers, the sun did finally make an appearance and fitting it was too, as just in time for the photos. A lovely BBQ followed, and then onto the ceremonial disco dancing, just like your Dad, which I seem to have progressed to the middle to late stages (oh dear – really!!!), all good preparation for the advancing bike ride!
After a good night’s sleep on Sunday, it was time to get some miles in. Former STFC Media Manager Chris Tanner and I set off at just after 1 on the Bank Holiday Monday. We made our way through Wroughton, then out towards Devizes before turning for Rockley. This is where we encountered our first big hill (for a small chap like me, you could say Mountain). I was personally glad to get to the top. Although lung-busting, this was just what I needed in preparation for Amsterdam. After a gulp of water, it was back down to it, taking in the quite beautiful Wiltshire landscape (the song Jerusalem always resonates). Although very damp with constant drizzle, this did not dampen our mood, as it was great to be back in the open air with the wind behind us (and I was happy that there was no ill affect from the Devil Dog - a foot-long Boroughbridge sausage topped with a fiery ghost Chilli Sauce, jalapeños and mozzarella that I'd eaten the previous day!). We decided to stop off at Marlborough for a coffee and a flapjack at The Food Gallery, worth a visit if you are in Marlborough. No rest for the wicked however and it was again time to saddle up once more. After a text to my girlfriend Lizzy to say we would meet up in Bishopstone, we headed out of Marlborough and picked up the Aldbourne Road. Now, let me tell you, if you want hill training, we found one that did not seem to want to end. It went on for miles! Chris missed a gear, so it was curtains for him early on. I managed to almost make the summit but my legs, without much training opted out, so had to walk a little to make the brow. At this point I realised once again that this cycling malarkey is not as easy as it looks on the telly! After the hill, the route was fairly kind; a few subtle climbs but we were now supple and were starting to feel like athletes again.
After another five miles and with the rain coming down with a little more conviction, we decided Wanborough was to be the next port of call. We met Lizzy who took a couple of snaps and then took shelter for a few cheesy chips in the Brewers before it was home time.