I have been hardly anywhere on my bike this month. I got a job at the local children’s Adventure Park and I run rides. There are 14 or 15 of them and I can run them all from the little kiddy teacups to the big 5D Simulator Theatre. Best of all, I can do it with my stupid wrist. It’s seasonal and we are now only working 13 hours a week until half term and then we stop for the winter after that. With this new job, I’m walking 20,000+ steps a day and by the time I’ve come home, walked the dogs and foraged for some tea, I am just shattered so not riding. The last couple of weeks has been wet & windy, sometimes just wet, sometimes just windy. Plus there has been a certain amount of inertia when I’ve felt that I just cannot be fagged to get the bike off the rack.
Today, after being up half the night playing guitar, dawned fine and bright. The wind of yesterday had gone and I thought ‘why not’ just a few miles won’t hurt me. I got my Roadie down, even though I knew that I was going to ride on the trail. The Roadie has Gatorskins on, the CX has something a whole lot cheaper and I have been plagued with visits from the P-Fairy this year and I’m just fed up with fixing holes and changing tubes. I figured that a Conti Gatorskin on front and a Conti 4 Seasons on back would be OK. The 4 Season tyre is the weapon of choice for the Paris Roubaix riders so reckoned that it would cope with the Camel Trail.
I rode up to Nanstallon, which is around 4 miles from my front door and I felt OK so thought that I would ride to the end of the Trail at Bodmin. Not going in to Bodmin as there are roadworks there and the motorists are getting very antsy. The improvements are going to be for the benefit of cyclists so thought that I wouldn’t take the risk of getting on the wrong side of some BMW driver with an axe to grind. Once at the end of the trail, I rode back and stopped at the junction that would take me either back home or on towards Wenfordbridge. There was a nice couple there, on their hols and we had a wee natter and it was then I decided to go down towards Wenfordbridge. I was feeling OK and again thought ‘why not’.
After riding down the bumpy hill, I came across a young couple walking their mountain bikes. I asked if everything was OK and the lass said that the bloke had a flat. I offered the use of my patches, pump and tyre levers but they said that it was OK as they were going to walk to the Snails Pace Cafe and fix it there as it’s a bike hire place. I said “that’s 5 miles away” are you sure that you don’t want me to fix it for you. After a brief convo between them, the guy said that he’d love to borrow my stuff. He got the wheel and tyre off very quickly and it then took us both an age to find the tiniest hole in the world. Once found, I stuck a patch on for them and he got the tyre back on and pumped up. I wasn’t offering to pump, nor was I offering up my compressed air emergency thing. Happy to help strangers, but not when it costs me £2.99. Call me mean, if you like.
On I rode again, the little break was lovely and my legs had benefited from the rest, and caught up with a nice guy, going about the same speed as I was. Totally forgetting about turning for home, we rode to the Snails Pace together. En route, I noticed a phone, face down in the mud, and popped back for it. Somehow, it wasn’t broken. I popped it in my back pocket with the idea of handing it in at the Cafe, then totally forgot until I got home again. As you do. At the cafe I hosed off the worst of the mud, from my roadie and topped up my water bottle. The trail is in a right old state. I’ve never seen it as bad as it is at the moment.
The home run was nice. I saw a chap on a hand trike and waved to him, I’d seen him on the way up the trail, going along. They are incredible bits of kit. I had a sit in one, in Norwich, that belonged to a chap doing the LEJOG for charity a year or two back. I just mention this in passing, as you don’t see too many of them about.
The last 2 miles off the trail was blooming hard work but as I approached my home, I realised that if I rode another 6 miles, that would be my 50km ride for the month. As I have ridden nowhere near enough this month, I thought that it’s probably a plan and rode past and through the town. One the Camel Trail towards Padstow, there was a horrible headwind, coming straight off the sea/estuary. That took my speed down to about 10mph, if I was really working. Cursing myself for deciding to do the extra, but feeling committed so not about to turn back, I plodded on. Laughing grimly to myself as I’m on a 7.2kg bike, built for speed, and struggling to keep the speed in double figures. Not nearly enough riding has occurred and the whole putting on a stone thing. I’ve done at least one 50km ride, every month thus far and I really want to do at least one, every month for the year. Today was my last chance. I didn’t set off with the plan of riding that far and had mentally let go of this arbitrary challenge. Glad that I did the ride. Now I have 31 days to keep up with the challenge. Might have a couple of days in the New Forest next month, get a flat ride in.
I battered on until I got to the quarry and the views over to Padstow & Rock. Looked at the view a few minutes and then turned for home.
With the wind at my back, life improved dramatically. I suppose I could have gone the extra 3 miles to Padstow and then the 3 extra miles back to that point, but I was knackered and my knees were starting to ache. This is the longest ride I’ve done for 6 weeks or so and I was feeling every pedal stroke at that time.
Winging my way back home was mostly lovely but my shadow was a funny shape. I put my hand to my back pocket and discovered the phone that I’d picked up earlier. Thought ‘I’d better get that back to it’s owner’ and then for the next couple of miles I wondered if it was locked and then I wouldn’t be able to call ‘home’ or ‘mum’. I got home, wheeled my roadie straight to the bathroom and then found my specs and had a look at the phone.
Very nice phone actually. A big Sony jobbie with a mahoosive screen without much of a border, like my iPhone. No home button either. Poking at it, I managed to make the camera film my feet and sofa. It took me nearly a minute to make it stop and then another couple of minutes of randomly poking at it before a different screen came up. I saw a shape that was like a house, so poked that and it brought up the homescreen. Yay. I found the ‘call’ icon and could see that there were 2 missed calls. Bonus, I thought. Someone is trying to ring it and find it. Wonderful. I poked it and there were two missed calls from ‘Home’, so I returned the call. A chap answered saying ‘Hello’ and I replied ‘Hi, I’ve found your phone, how can I get it to you’.
Chap was very happy, he’d lost in on the trail. I said that was were I had found it, and you’ll never guess who it belonged to. The guy on the trike handcycle. He drove over straight away and collected it and gave me £20 for finding it. That can go towards some hound neutering. I expected to see him in a wheelchair, not up on 2 legs and said as much (foot in mouth, no filter! Definitely an #isitok moment there). He said that he has a prosthetic leg after a road accident a decade ago. Can’t ride a regular bike. We chatted about his bike for a while and then I gave him Bodmin missing directions, as he got caught in the roadworks. I hope that he got home OK. The back route is embedded in to our heads and fine if you know the way. Probably a bit complex if not. He has a GPS, he’ll be fine.
https://www.strava.com/activities/729910883 for anyone interested.
I’ve had a shower now and no longer smell so bad that the dogs won’t come near me – or want to roll on me. I’m now going to hunt down some supper.