Laughing (through tears) in the face of gruesome headwinds

There’s a fine line between bravery and stupidity and choosing to go out cycling for a couple of hours in the foulest of weather would not conventionally be considered to be brave. However, with the UK suffering from a frustratingly prolonged Winter there isn’t really much of an option at the moment.

My work situation has recently changed so I no longer have my daily commute to rely on for cycling mileage. However my time is now more flexible which can present opportune windows for mid-week cycle rides. I had earmarked Friday morning as time for a three hour hilly ride and wasn’t about to change my mind just because howling winds and driving rain woke me before dawn.

After a long and cold Winter we are unfortunately again suffering from heavy rains and flooding. The roads are absolutely foul – mud, puddles, gravel and potholes everywhere and completely unsuitable for a decent bike. Thick socks, waterproof cycling shoes, leggings and mudguards are still the order of the day.

Sporting the wooly sock look with pride

Sporting the wooly-sock look with pride

Flooded roads

Flooded roads

After a few miles at flooded lower levels I climbed my way to the top of the Mendip Hills. The wind was vicious and hardly ever favourable. I was leaning heavily into crosswinds (momentarily losing balance whenever a hedge cut out the wind) and then had to laugh when a full-on headwind limited my speed on a descent to 9 mph. I seriously contemplated turning back but realised I’d never escape the dastardly wind so ploughed on, letting out irregular gasps of despair through gritted-teeth.

A grizzly morning

A grizzly morning

Mucky roads

Mucky roads

Even muckier roads

Even muckier roads

Mucky bike

Mucky bike

I was hoping to ride for 3 hours, but when conditions are this unfavourable (and you’ve long-lost the feeling in fingers and toes) then sometimes you have to know when to call it a day. After covering just 27 miles in two long hours, I headed home, showered, ate a hearty breakfast of poached eggs (3), muffins (2) and chocolate brownies (4), and then headed out for a long day of meetings. At least the good thing about cycling is being that skinny bloke scoffing all the biscuits in every meeting.

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12 thoughts on “Laughing (through tears) in the face of gruesome headwinds

  1. bgddyjim says:

    Ah yes, I so love those jealous glares, the wry comments… When a 300 pounder looks at me with disdain – and asks, “why do YOU get to eat like that”? Then you ask him to suffer through 40 km winds on a two hour ride – FOR FUN and he looks at you like you’re insane…

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