I had no intentions of going on this ride. In fact I set out to go for a bit of a spin on the road on my Genesis CDF. Yes, I was planning on avoiding the mud and opted for a cleaner ride and maybe just 10 miles or so before settling down for an afternoon of rugby.
After struggling up a local road climb (Clyffe Pypard), a stupid voice in my head told me I needed more climbing and shouldn’t stop there so I made my way over to Hackpen Hill and up on to the Ridgeway.
My breathing on these road climbs leaves a lot to be desired. I find myself breathing rapidly rather than deeply, and its very hard to recover when you breathe like this.
Anyway, this was the tough bit over with. The Ridgeway toward Avebury was going to be mucky, but in theory it was mostly all down hill from here.
The skinny tyres work well to cut through some mud, but they are also equally good at sliding from under you when you least expect it. It didn’t help that my left cleat was a little tight and unclipping was a bit of a drama on a few occasions, especially as the wind was blowing me the direction of my left cleat!
Along this stretch of my route I spotted some MTB tyre tracks. Those of Tom Scott and the MB Swindon morning ride I guessed. I could have done with some 2 inch wide mud tyres right now. The 35c Conti cross tyres have some grip, but they are not designed for this.
It got better (so I stopped for a photograph!) and I was able to roll a bit quicker, though very nervously I might add! Then it was time for the final stretch home.
The track from the Ridgeway down into Avebury is rutted and chalky. In the wet conditions this is crazy on any bike – but on the CDF it was positively mental!
Then there was the headwind that made riding downhill back into Cherhill a lot harder than it should have been.
Anyway, if I have one rule its never regret a ride. Whatever the weather or conditions, however long it took or how tough the ride was – its all exercise, experience, character building and generally better (if not colder and wetter) than sitting on the sofa with a cuppa…