I do love a night ride and tonight was no exception. One of the advantages of moving to the Suffolk Coast is it’s just over 11 miles to meet Kenn from dialysis. When we were in Wymondham, the direct route was just over 8 miles, in Norwich it was a whopping 2.8 miles – I never actually took the short route there though, unless you count going on foot with the dogs – so the direct route to Ipswich hospital is the longest yet. Very pleasing.
It’s been raining all day. Horrible, horizontal rain. The stuff that stings your face as it’s driven off the sea, by the wind. Even the terriers wouldn’t go out in it. The hounds wouldn’t even go into the garden, they are so nesh. My new winter cycling boots arrived today so I definitely wanted to go out to play on my bike. An absolute bargain as they came from a Cyclechat member, they are Diadora Chili winter cycling boots. Very warm and toasty they are too. The lovely cyclechatter even threw in SPD cleats to go with them. Saved me taking my cleats off my Shimano MTB shoes.
Even in the evening, the rain was still pouring down, the wind had got up and the BBC had weather warmings up for the rain and 40mph winds. I reckoned that the wind was nowhere near 40mph and that the BBC might be telling porky-pies about that. It was still pouring with rain at 9pm so I told Kenn that I was going to stay home. Then, naturally, it stopped raining so I told Kenn that I’d changed my mind and was going to ride to meet him. Got Eric the CX out, sorted out my saddlebag and then got changed.
Before getting the bike out, I checked that the deluge hadn’t begun again, it hadn’t, so off I went. By the end of the road, I noticed how blowy it was. Turning right at the end of the road, made for happier riding as the wind was behind me right up to Walton High Street. Riding through the Trimleys was quite fun. I took it nice and steady as it was a tad blustery but not bad enough to turn back.
Once clear of the streetlights and the houses, I could really feel that wind, coming in from my left. I had found a nice pace and decided to work with that. The light in the sky was amazing. The lower clouds were few and far between but they were really shifting across the sky, obviously in a hurry to get somewhere. The clouds above were blue, purple, even a reddish hue. The sky looked like it was bruised and battered. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sky like that before. Not like a reddish sunset, as it was 10pm and dark, but beautiful, like a painting.
By the time I’d passed the Nacton turning, I was getting fed up with fighting to stay in a straight line, so I headed off up Straight Road, to Foxhall. I was planning on heading in the direct route to Sainsburys and then on to the Bixley Road but I just needed a bit of respite from that side wind. For the first time ever, I was the only person using Straight Road. There is usually some car driver gagging to pass me from either ahead or behind, but not tonight. Along the Bucklesham Road from Foxhall, the wind seemed better, probably my imagination. At one point, I seemed to be riding through a leaf storm. There were just leaves in the air everywhere, all swirling about. It was rather lovely as my bike lights caught them in some mad dance.
At the end of Bucklesham Road, there is a horrible roundabout, which I avoid in the day time as it’s a pain in the backside to get over or around. At night, it’s not so bad. I could see it was completely empty so I kicked on and round before anything had a chance to arrive at the roundabout. From there, it’s the climb up Bixley Road. Not much of a climb at an average of 1% over about a kilometer. I was a bit impressed with myself as I got a personal best along there, on my CX bike. The wind at my back was a massive help, cheating really but a PB is PB.
I got to the Dialysis unit about 2 minutes before Kenn got out. I’d only just turned my lights off and looked at my GPS unit before he came out. Obviously, my timing is improving.
One of the great things about Kenn’s late dialysis is cycling on what my Mother used to call the G.O.A.D.I.C.O.N.S. method of fitness – or Going Out After Dark In Case Our Neighbour’s See. We’ve been here nearly 2 months now. I think that they think that we are a little eccentric. Apparently, going cycling in cycling clothes is a touch odd. It’s not as if we are without eccentrics around here. There is a chap who goes jogging up and down the prom, in a pair of barefoot training shoes and a pair of speedos. He runs a while then stops and does tricep dips or press-ups on the benches along there. Sometimes there is an nice, older Oriental lady who uses the railings at the edge of the Prom, like a barre. They both look jolly fit actually. Must be the sea air.
Anyway, tonight was 11.4 miles at a nice average pace of 14mph. 14 minutes from Home to the Sausage Shop. 48 minutes from Home to the Hospital. My feet, in their new boots? Warm and toasty. The boots are just lovely.