Cold and muddy winter miles

After running a few essential errands on Sunday morning I realised I had a free afternoon so I seized the moment and donned my lycra. One of my favourite Bristol training rides is the Southern section of Route 10, the Avon Cycleway. The route is managed by Sustrans and guides cyclists in a loop around Bristol along a series of minor roads and country lanes. This is the 52 mile section I took today:

The thing with country lanes is that they are incredibly muddy at this time of year. I was glad to be wearing my waterproof overshoes.

Nonetheless I worked my way around the route at a decent pace and without major incident. I was dreading the two mile climb along the route (approx. at the 20 mile marker below) however its gradient isn’t too steep (5 – 10%) and bizarrely I actually found myself enjoying the ascent. Any enjoyment was shot to pieces a few miles later when I had to fight my way up a series of short, sharp climbs on the narrow roads. To compound the difficulty my rear derailleur decided to take on a personality of its own and shift gear several times while I was stood out of the saddle fighting up 15%+ climbs. I found myself shouting a few choice words at this inanimate object before stopping to make a minor adjustment.

The hills seemed to destroy me today and the last 10 flat miles were completed at a relatively slow pace. Three miles from home the heavens then opened and I found myself drenched in the freezing rain. On the plus side it cleaned all the mud off my bike and legs, but it made the inevitable struggle up Park Street even more so. As I trudged through the front door doing my best impression of a drowned rat my mood was immediately lifted by my wife who had run me a hot bath and baked a tray of chocolate brownies. What more could a cold, wet and exhausted cyclist wish for?

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