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
My 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.
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