Yesterday(Sunday 19th) brought with it the promise of afternoon yet, undaunted by pig headedness, the training ride for WheelsForRotary started off at the normal time with the intention of covering 40 miles to include Chute Causeway and Combe Gibbet. In the mind of Podge The Puffer (yours truly) both these were mountains, to many others they were just big hills.
As we (Barry, Charles, Mike & Podge) set off the sky was clear though there were smatterings of clouds in the distance. Climbing out of Hungerford we very quickly warmed up, mainly because we had taken the precaution of wearing extra layers against the inevitable cold. After about 5 miles we were forced to start removing layers: clearly, today was going to be warmer then promised. But, the extra warmth seemed to have a positive effect on the little fat one at the back(me), as we were making good time with our average speed a good couple of miles above previous rides.
The distant clouds rolled in and brought a slight drop in temperature plus a sudden head wind: uh oh thought Podge, there’s a front coming in: the rain must soon be arriving. But, undaunted we continued at a good pace and eventually reached the start of the climb up tp Chute Causeway. As we started to climb, the ‘front’ came and went, along with the clouds and the temperature went back up. And so, up we went, all the way to the top (the occasional stop to ‘admire the view’) before payback time with the drop down (14%) the other side.
At the bottom we turned right to cycle a 4 mile flat road with the behind me. If anything, the road was slightly downhill. I’m telling you, His Podgeness was in seventh heaven and actually felt like a proper cyclist. After about a mile however, it all went a bit wrong. “oi Mike” says His Podgeness, “does my back tyre look a bit flat? The affirmative reply was not welcomed but expected. So, it’s all stop to change the tube (repairs are so last year), pump up with CO2 (much better than pumps), and back on the road. 50 yards, maybe 75 and swishhhhh, down goes the same tyre. Oh dear everybody thought! Let’s change the tube again. This time, let’s put loads of gas in to make nice and hard and so quicker to ride. Before we had finished however, BANG, the tyre springs off and the tube spills out in shreds. This is no longer funny. Between the four riders, there was only one tube left and one cylinder of gas. Fortunately both worked, but the tyre was less than hard enough so the ride onwards was slow.
The long break to practice tyre changes also allowed everybody’s muscles to cool down from which no one really recovered and so the (optional) climb up to Facombe was dropped and instead went straight to Combe Gibbet. Earlier, His Podgeness was confident about climbing Combe but all the stops and soft tyre took its toll and the proverbial Push Bike lived up to its name. But, a ten minute rest at the top to enjoy the views, well worth the trip, and then it was all down hill to Downgate for a well deserved pint before the last mile, downhill again, to home.
And that was this weeks 40 mile training ride and a good time was had by all. And better still, Podge lost 1.8 pounds in weight.
Go Podge, Go.