Sunday, 11 December 2011

FNRttC December 2011 - Southend - Update

It is a risk to bring people to a FNRttC ride.  I knew this back in 2008 but still got a cycling colleague to come along.  He turned up 10 minutes late - I've haven't forgiven him ....  FNRttC can do no wrong for me.  The Whitstable ride in 2008 was the most magical ever, it was the 'Graveney Marshes sunrise' ride, the 'Pavel's Sheep Photo' ride.  This cycling colleague didn't get it and he tried to burst my bubble.  Never again, I thought.

But Mandy and Rob .... they have heard my cycling stories.   I play down the FNRttC experiences, but they sense there is more to it.  They came to see me finish PBP in Paris, as a surprise.  They are unique.  They understand.  They are not sporting fit, but they are fit through their professions.  Their bikes?  Hmmm, a little heavy, a little wide tyred, a little mudguarded, a little pannier racked ... with panniers.   Simon's email was ringing in my ears: "I know that whatever I say, some of you are going to turn up kitted out for an expedition to Kazakhstan".

Ok, so Mandy and Rob will fulfil this prophecy and Simon can say he was right.  I'll cope with that, especially if that pannier is filled with cake, Christmas cake or mince pies maybe, to be shared amongst the Fridays at a time when moral needs a little boosting.

But I didn't expect the knitting needles to come out!

Only when uploading the photos at home, do a realise the onlooker, central to the picture! Simon!  Susie help me!!

I'm just hoping that Christmas is a time for forgiving.  In any case, Simon was a little poorly, poorly by microbes, somewhat subdued, probably too poorly to care.

Maybe he'll now rephrase: "I know that whatever I say, some of you are going to turn up knitted out for an expedition to Kazakhstan".

It was cold.  To me, it was colder than in March.  My finger tips got cold, so I put a second pair of gloves on.  That transferred my cold thoughts to my cold toes.  My solution to that was to put a burst of speed on.  Seemed to work.  I was on my single speed commuter bike.  That was enough to get me warm on the climbs.  Amazing though, maybe because it is such a light bike, those climbs were not much trouble.  Just get out of the saddle, get into a rhythm, and before you know it, the smallest council house in Britain is in sight.  Because it was on a climb I didn't stop to take a picture, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it on the Rayleigh village board.

Bottom left - smallest council house
The Tully family treated us to the middle of the night snacks.  The cakes were great!.  I was going to take a photo of the boys, but they looked just like the March edition.

Photo take in March

It is only Sunday evening, but I already have the Tuesday Blues.  Or is it the lovely Davywalnuts' post on Cyclechat that got me?

"At a walnut stop near North Ockendon, something glistened to me through churned up mud. It was a necklace with a cross attached. Am not religious, but it spoke to me, like chocolate does, and leaving the muddy and churned up necklace behind, I took the cross. The last time I took that route home, a few months ago, I took a call from my Dad saying my nan had died. She was very religious and so as a good luck charm, it shall now go with me on rides."

Special thank you to Simon for organising and continuing to organise.  What a great FNRttC year it has been.

I hope the Fridays will enjoy the festive season and that 2012 will be full of rides you wish for.

Photos are on the slideshow till the next ride or here: Clicky

Monday, 5 December 2011

FNRttC December 2011 - Southend

I can't wait for the Southend ride on Friday!

Will it be as cold as last time (last time was March)?
Will I learn something new about London?
Will the Stock stop crew be in full form again?
Will the witch be at home?

We'll probably do the blue route

I'm planning a bit of extra-curricular. Southend has the longest pier in the world, so I must walk the walk.

Southend Pier

Sunday, 4 December 2011

The South Bucks Winter Warmer 200

I had only just got my front wheel out of the car when I heard a 'Hello Els'!  'Hi Liam'!  Then there were Honor, Chris, Peter, Pete, Lindsay, Tim, Chris, Dasmoth, Scotlington ... and so, so many other familiar faces ....  and John!

Everybody was in good spirits.  It was going to be a mild day, a great route, a very well organised event.  I had only just got my front wheel out of the car and I was loving it already.  There were PBP chats, FNRttC chats (what do you mean you are not doing Southend!), RRTY chats, PBP vs BCM chats, what are your plans for next year chats ....

Pre-ride chats
Plans for next year .... I have plans for next year.  They are audax plans.  But whilst cycling around in the countryside, I was dreaming of a time when I'll do touring again.  Why can't I let go of audaxing and just go touring?  Why do I always need a challenge, a purpose, a theme?  One of the themes I have had in my mind is a Pancake tour (ref Severn Across 400): only eat where they can serve fresh pancakes.  Then you could graph my weight according to which country I'm in.  Well, yes, it started off as a tour in the UK only, but then I got hungry and had to go to Belgium.  Why not visit Normandy in France, also?  Would potato pancakes count in Poland?  Apparently New Zealand do a form of pikeletty pancake .... dreams....

Watch out!  After seeing Marcus' mate come off his bike, I wasn't so dreamy anymore.  I heard afterwards that Manotea came off also.  There certainly were a few tricky moments, and although I love cycling in woody lanes, I always seemed relieved to come back out in the open.   The compacted leaves on wet road are as dangerous as black ice.

I'd remembered Winnersh from previous rides.  It usually gets pretty cold by then, but not this time.  And neither was the control at the customary Sainsbury's either.  This meant I bumped into kebab van, selling chips.  Control or no control, I'm having chips!  That would make the last leg fly!

After Twyford, I was on my own quite for a long time.  I picked up my pace and was then relieved to spot red flashing lights turning out to be a groupette going steady behind ChrisB.  It was great to finish the ride in company.

Other thoughts
  • the wonderful and plentiful mushrooms on the leaf covered banks
  • expected Haselmere Christmas market to be on
  • hearing shooting at Bisley again
  • it was glorious with the sun out
  • not being able to pay for Sainsbury's snack items at the Sainsbury's cafe.
  • very nice welcome home at the finish control
  • 9 info controls, I used my dictaphone to record the answers
Photos are on the slideshow till the next ride or here: Clicky