Before you say it, I’m not superstitious. Even after this week!
Ride 1 – Not such a blissful afternoon
Using the long weekend to head down to my sister’s and perhaps get a few miles in with her ahead of our Etape Caledonia challenge in May. When I got there, she had hurt her back and as much as she wanted to ride, it wouldn’t have been sensible, so I took her advice on a route and headed out into the New Forest.
The Target was Blissford Hill. There’s a lot of comment online about Blissford Hill around Wiggle New Forest 100 time: killer and wall are just two of the more common and less offensive words used to describe it, so naturally I had to give it a go.
A nice roll down through the western edge of the New Forest following the Avon valley south towards Fordingbridge. These are very English villages with thatched cottages, large greens and ponies wandering around. My sister, nephew and partner were waiting for me on route and said they’d come to watch me climb up the Blissford Hill. They headed off to wait for me.
There’s actually a ford to cross at Blissford and it was raging, so I hoped onto the footbridge and rolled across. A sign with a handy 25% notice let’s you know what you’re in for and then there it was, right ahead of me: Blissford Hill.
Now, I’ll give you the fact it’s steep – the hill rolls up into its steepest bit, then out of it again in a smooth curve. The strip of tarmac is dead straight and very narrow, no more than 2.5 metres – but if you’re used to cycling in the North Pennines, it’s not at all daunting. You can see the top for a start. And I knew it was the top, because I had an audience waiting there.
I fancied my chances at a quick skip up there and wanted to arrive looking like I had had more to give, so I got out of the saddle and clicked over to my second lowest gear and got ready to give it some. I’d like to say I skipped up there like a feather on a breeze, but we’ll never know, because my rear derailleur snapped.
I had to walk the bike up the hill carrying its rear end.
Ride stats: 11.5m; 728 ft; 00h 53m 04s
Ride two – Sunday, Sunday
A nice inaugural spin for the new bikey. A few spins round the village with a fettle here and a fettle there and the bike felt right to take out on the roads.
Some hills and some flat. It took some getting used to the new pedal system and gear levers, I think it’ll take a good few more hours before I’m using them instinctively. The surprise was how easily the power transferred from the pedal to the ground. I didn’t push hard at any stage, but I was still more than a mile an hour faster than I’d expect to be on that ride.
Cant wait to get it out in the dales.
Ride stats: 19.7 miles; 885 ft; 01h 10m 08s
Week’s total: 31.2 miles; 1,613 ft; 02h 03m 12s