Sunday, 1 July 2012

Glastonbury Song.......

Yesterday the wife and I attended the inaugural Beverfest, arranged to fill the gap left by the Glastonbury Festival not happening this year. It was slightly smaller than the big one but had better toilets and no cow poo to sit in. I will admit to having a couple of beverages but I did have my mind on what I was going to be doing today.
Lady Ha Ha and Michael Beavis......

So it seemed quite apt that I was up early and onto the road driving down to Glastonbury to a green hill far away. No music festivals today but the annual British Heart Foundation Somerset levels charity ride which had been rescheduled for today. The postponement worked out quite well for me as I had booked to do the original date but then couldn't arrange the time off work. I'd ridden this event a couple of years ago when I first got the urge to ride a road bike and did the twenty seven mile route but today I was going to attempt the fifty. I met up with Rob and Nick some cycling club newbies but we did not to see any others, I think with the rearranged date it clashed with another club event. I did tell Rob I was going to ride at my own pace so I hope he wasn't offended. I got myself ready, glad I'd brought my Gilet and arm warmers because as ever the weather was doing the complete opposite to what they said on the telly.
The start
We started down the road at the carnival sheds, it was sunny but getting darker by the minute and a bit chilly.  As its a charity ride and not massive distances it wasn't the usual sportive crowd. There was a great mix of riders and bikes but some of those mountain bikes looked heavy. Everybody lined up and set off en masse which made the first couple of miles on narrow lanes a bit slow.

I'm going to have a moan now as this bugged me all day. If I wanted to pass or passed someone I would always let them know and pass the time of day. Its not hard, "coming past on your right" and then a thank you, what's that, five words, six syllables ? Too many quicker, fitter riders went past me and others without even a word there's no need for it. I noticed a loose dog messing about in a hedge and drifted out to avoid it only for someone quicker to blast pass, I think I heard a huff.

I spent far too much time looking at the Garmin for the first hour getting stressed about my speed and started contemplating doing the short route. I was cold and it was trying to rain and it looked like it was going to lash down. I had a stern word with myself and made the turn onto the longer route, looking down at the Garmin I'd done about seventeen miles in the first hour, I was quite pleased with that.

The next bit of the ride took me around Burtle and Mark but it all seemed to be into a headwind. After a quick stop at the thirty mile mark near Watchfield there seemed to be some respite from the wind. I was slightly delayed by some farmers running a herd of cows along the lanes. I slowly zipped up my black Gilet over my bright red jersey, you never know ! They must have been moving the cattle for a fair few miles as the roads were now a minefield of fresh cow poo and it had rained. Some of the lanes were very agricultural and better suited to mountain bikes and it was a relief to get back onto some decent roads at Cossington. It was a nice ride through Chilton Polden and down to Shapwick. I couldn't believe I was actually going down a hill, at one point during the ride the Garmin said the elevation was -1, is that possible ?

I was developing a bit of cramp in my left leg but managed to get the cranks turning for the last few miles back to the finish. I got a medal and bottle of water the and sun came out as I drove home making the levels look lovely.

Distance:49.25 mi
Avg Speed:14.5 mph
Elevation Gain:753 ft

I don't know if I should be pleased or disappointed with the time. I did slow for the second half of the ride as my knee did start to ache, I don't know if it was cramp or the cold... in July ! It was nice riding somewhere different but being on the flat is a lot more harder than you'd like to think. There's no hills but you got to keep pedalling and throw in the wind and some cows and it makes an interesting day out.

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