Fright of My Life

I just got the fright of my life realising that we are already entering week 7 of the year and we are heading off on LEJOG in week 22… only 15 weeks to goOMG!

There is much to do!

That said, this has been a rather good week, we have had some positive things happen. Most notably, I have discovered that my employers, Johnson Matthey will match any sponsorship monies that I raise up to a maximum of £1000. This is most astounding, and really gave me a lift, to feel that our targets; which at time can seem rather daunting, become so much more achievable with that knowledge. Great company…Thank You!

Other good news, cycling related, but not directly to LEJOG, was that I have been offered a place in the Prudential RideLondon event in August. This is pretty much the cycling equivalent of the London Marathon, it even finishes on the Mall in the same way. I applied to ride last year, but was unsuccessful and forgot that, because I pledged my entry fee, I got a second chance this year. I’m really chuffed. It will serve as a nice ride to look forward to after LEJOG and I have to ride it on my own as no under 12s are allowed. Boo and I need a break from each other from time to time. Hopefully this will provide a final fundraising push at the end of the year.

Speaking of Boo, I’m really impressed at her tenacity. We did a good ride Saturday on the tandem, in the howling gales coming from the south west we rode a 45 mile loop which was a slightly curtailed version of the Stratford CC reliability trial planned for Sunday. Due to the weather we decided to ride it alone, a day early, as it gave us more flexibility over timing. Riding into the teeth of that wind as we headed south from Stratford towards the Cotswolds was challenging to say the least. At times we were struggling to hold ten miles per hour into the wind on exposed sections, as I wrestled the handlebars into the crosswinds. However, despite being cold and rather windswept, Boo stuck to the task throughout.

Stratford Reliability

I won’t say that she never complained, that would be stretching a point, but she did stick with it despite the day’s challenges. These amounted to a few navigational errors, some blooming steep hills, some dubious gear shifting on my part (resulting in a couple of dropped chains) but mostly that incessant wind. The frustration at the nagging southwester culminated when stopping to don waterproofs against the approaching rain whilst on an elevated hillside. We coasted to a stop and broke from behind the cover of a hedgerow, where we were met by a gust of wind which blew the bike over, on the side where my foot remained clipped-in. Boo deftly jumped clear of the bike as the outcome became inevitable. I however, just fell in a more arboreal manner, landing squarely on my right knee. The only point at which we cursed more during the ride was when arriving at our planned café stop to find they were closed until March!

The more satisfying parts of the ride (for Boo at least) were the speeds achieved downhill with the wind behind where we challenged a few town speed limits, topping out at 41.5 mph achieved in a 40mph limit. The stretch for home was greatly aided by the prevailing wind which compensated the earlier difficulties and was welcome relief for tired limbs. All in all a good training ride which demonstrated we can get the job done, despite what nature throws at us. The pub meal afterwards was very much welcomed by all and it was surprising to see how late Boo can sleep in, when she is properly tired.

20140208_140250 We paused at Broadway Tower for a rapid photo as it was for too windy for anything else.

A beautiful carpet of snowdrops at St Nicholas Church, Loxley.20140208_163348

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