Week five

I spent the weekend and the first few days of this week suffering with stomach cramps. By Wednesday I was desperate to get out on the bike.

Ride 1- The Bat

The BatMy go-to route when I have an hour is a 15-mile loop that crosses the Wear Valley. The route has three big climbs and looks a bit bat-like when you see it on Strava. On a warm summer’s evening after months of training, I’d expect it to take about 50 minutes.


I set off with the wind up the first climb and felt ok for the first mile or so. Then turning back into the wind I realised I didn’t have a lot of power in my legs. I settled in to climb the 500ft second climb, the wind contriving to be a headwind no matter which direction I cycled. At the top of the third climb the tail wind and drop four-mile drop back to home were very welcome, but I’d already taken an hour. I finished up knackered and disappointed it had taken me so long.

Ride stats: 15.2 miles, 976 ft, 01h 14m 42s

Ride 2 – Darlington and ice cream

Friday was windy and had a decent forecast, so I decided on a ride to Darlington. It’s a 500ft climb to get over into Teesdale from our part of Weardale and it was into a strong headwind. It took me an hour to reach Ingleton where I picked up speed. After crossing the Roman road I received a wonderful gift – the B6279 had been resurfaced with a wonderfully smooth tarmac that was like a ribbon of silk running under the tyres. In Darlington I spent some time looking at bikes in the fabulously friendly Bike Sport on Bondgate. While I was there they gave my bike the once-over and topped up the tyres.

Coffee and flapjack at Archer's Jersey Ice Cream Parlour

Mmmm, Archer’s

Back out of Darlington on the luscious blacktop to Walworthand up the hill for a deserved lunch stop at Archer’s Jersey Ice Cream Parlour. Archer’s is a special place. They lost their dairy herd in an outbreak of foot and mouth disease and decided to build a Jersey herd and build a business as ice cream producers. I’m thankful they did. On Friday the log burner was roaring away as the perfect accompaniment to my coffee and flapjack. Warm and full, I cycled on through Heighington and Redworth to Shildon and a steep descent into Bishop Auckland. The five miles home from there left me thinking I could have added a few more.

Ride stats: 37.3 miles, 1,546 ft, 02h 44m 52s

Week’s total: 52.5 Miles, 2,529 ft, 03h 59m 34s

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