Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Visit Barnstaple.

Strapline; Visit Barnstaple. It may be shitting it down, but the coffee is great.

So, today we had our annual run to the sun which is a paradox as we live in 'Southish Devon' where it is habitually sunny most of the year. Our run to the Sun takes us to North Devon where typically topically en-route it started shitting it down.  I've no issue with rain. I hate wind. It was windy as heck coming back. The issue regarding rain in so much is we set off cross country from Stoke Canon as I came up with the idea of going the back way to Crediton from James' front door which whilst in ethos was sound, in practice the back lanes were so caked in farmers mud our steeds were ratty as hell within the first 5 miles. Rain only compounds this and honestly, by the time we got to Barney we were covered and wet though the typical mizzle did not soak us through. Wet but dry. Hard to explain. The bikes however were filthy.

The ride up was great. We smashed it in fact and for long spells we were riding tempo on the flat with examples of good averages for long spells (pictured) such as 59 minutes at 20.4 mph - effectively 20 odd miles at 20 mph. Nice riding.  Not hard when James is on the front. I can imagine what a pro rider feels like when Tony Martin is pulling on the front or signs for your team. "Here come the hurt". James has no threshold. However, speed is not the be all and end all for development, and data tells me I logged 170 watts for 59 minutes for an average cadence of 82 is about right on a rolling road as a 'club rider', which is why I took the TCR today. It delivers wattage in a different way and requires less torque but favours cadence. The absurd thing is that this is a flat Devon ride yet we still did 4,384 feet of climbing. Nuts.  Naturally we lost speed with the wet roads.  It was great to see Barnstaple Long Bridge as we made it. Kinda reminds me of Bridge on the River Kwai. It is a lovely sight and allegedly it was built in or around 1280ad. Despite its shortcomings the arrival is a nice view across the Taw and the chance to recover, recharge and go again.

Into Barney, James' home place of birth we stopped at Bike Shed for two coffees and a slice of cake. I took the pragmatic decision to buy some Endura toe covers as my socks were soaked and my feet were getting colder. They worked a treat. Bike Shed a great shop. So much to see. As I say want and need are not best mates ! 

Heading back smack on 56 miles someone flicked a switch and I noticed my cadence dropping off and being frank, I felt like a cooked goose which is not like me. I rode 13 odd miles battling through it and I know that a lack of nutrition on the way up buried me on the way back. Thankfully James gave me a flap jack and along with a gel that got me the full 84 miles home. I feel today's ride was tempered by mistakes on my part. 

One going the back way.

Two not wearing overshoes.

Three not fuelling enough. 

Even as a seasoned bike rider you learn all the time and it wont happen again. In context North Bristol to South Devon easier than this as I eat all the way back. Remedial stuff. 

All told it was a great few hours in the saddle and James was again great company though I leave you with the quote of the day "Pete - see that lay by over there ? I have had sex in it".

First up James, that's called dogging. Secondly I suppose you can take the boy out of Barney but you'll never take the Barney outta the boy ...! Quality comment Jamesy.

A great shift to end the long rides in 2018.  190 watts over 84 miles & 106 pb's on Strava of which 80 were gold. Mental. Note the clocks go back this weekend.  Roll on March 2018.

 Til' next time.

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