Sunday, 21 November 2010
Cycle of Death and Rebirth
Well not really. Just trying to grab attention! More of a cycle down towards Peebles then over the Meldon Hills, thru' Rommano Bridge, onwards to West Linton and then home via the Deanfoot Road, a nice old road with stunning views of the Pentlands (when you can see that is) and back to Penicuik (which thankfully we'd driven to to start - another 10 miles each way would have finished us off).
Looks good on paper and would have been good except the rain predicted for the afternoon came in the morning and we got very very cold and very wet. We are comparative cycle softies having not done much other than commute with our bikes for a good number of years. By 'we' I mean Peter and I. Amanda probably does more and Scott does a whole lot more on the Fixie - especially as he keeps injuring himself.
The sun came out very briefly as we were setting off up into the Meldons and it really was nice. Lovely rolling hills and wildness and sheep - reminiscent of Yorkshire or maybe parts of the Lakes. After a couple of miles reprieve when we could actually look around and talk to each other the rain came back and it was heads down and work.
The next 13 -15 miles or so were into driving rain and no communication was possible. I lead for a while but then when the others came forward to take a turn at the front I dropped off the back, my little cycling legs quite spent. My chain started refusing to go up to the big cog in the first part of the journey so my cadence seemed to be about twice that of my companions. I welcomed the warmth this generated though. Too late I realised that waterproof shoes would have been better (not open mesh trainers designed to let your feet breathe). My big toes went numb fairly early on, but on the hills over to Rommano Bridge I lost touch with the 2nd and 3rd toes too.
Deep inside I was alright though. I could tell because I had the song from the Simpsons Movie stuck in my brain. "Spider Pig, Spider Pig, does whatever a Spider Pig does..." and then David Bowie "I'm an ALLIGATOR". I sang this to Amanda and she cycled off as quick as she could.
West Linton came at long last and we went to a cafe (I think it was called the Old Toll Inn). I knew right away that I wanted cake and a hot chocolate and a coffee. We made the other table of people in the cafe laugh with our extreme coldness and wetness and need for food, and we made the windows steam up as we all started to dry out. The coffee was really good by the way and the carrot cake was delicious, and I got a good big slice. The cafe people were good natured and friendly. Amanda, Scott and Peter had cabbage and bacon soup too which they said was good. I couldn't get enough sweetness really - like Brundle-Fly in The Fly - I was pouring tubes of sugar into my coffee too and I don't usually take sugar. I missed Amanda's screams as her hands came back on-line as I was away at the toilet...
Then it was an effort of will to go back out and face the last 7 or 8 miles. (I'm not sure about the distances as my odometer on my bike didn't tally with the stated number of miles - it might have been as many as 11 - I set my wheel-size in the odometer pretty much at random so that was no surprise really.)
The rain mercifully held off until we got going again, so at least we got into a rhythm before it started to teem down again - and not just rain but some hail as well. The hail pinged my bike bell - 'too late for a warning' I thought to myself blearily....but pretty soon I could see the Leadburn Inn in the distance and to the right, and knew it couldn't be long til we came back out onto the A701 and on the downhill sweep back into Penicuik.
It was the East League XC at Broxburn yesterday so I'm going to post about that next, but today's efforts had more impact and I wanted to write about them first...