A four counties 100km
When Jenny told me she was taking a friend out to lunch, it got me thinking……….what would I fancy for lunch….and where? The idea of a breakfast bap implanted itself firmly in my head, and after a little prompting from Jenny, I was eventually able to remember where I had last had a ‘bacon butty’…..and so the food became the destination. I mean, what better reason for going in one direction as another? Or for going one distance as another? However, the price to pay for this breakfast sandwich (apart from the £5 it actually cost) was 103kms/64 miles. Now, let me ask you……….when did you last cycle that distance for so little reward? Well, to the average roadie, that is a reward indeed, one to be prized, one to be chased down…..at whatever cost.
This turned into my much loved four counties ride, riding into (and out of) Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire……all of them ‘shires’, and ending up (almost exactly at the half way point) in Salcey Forest, where there is an excellent forest café…..which, of course, serves excellent breakfast sandwiches, and has ‘freebie’ newspapers to browse at the same time…..in which I became engrossed in the emerging debate about Chris Froome, and the Sky team, and the possibility that they may be doping. Hey ho…….we are right back to 2013, when Froome was grilled throughout about his exceptional performance and whether he was riding clean. (But it is interesting to note that last year, even when Vincenzo Nibali was more than 7 minutes ahead of his nearest rival, he was never once questioned about possible doping issues. Is there some bias there?).
My Garmin statistics tell me that my highest elevation was 138 metres (in Salcey Forest), that I did 459 metres of elevation gain, but 464 metres of elevation loss…..very interesting. Where did those 5 metres go? My highest speed was a mere 50kph, and I’m told I burned off over 3,600 calories……..the last number is hard to believe. It almost suggests I’m on a programme of serious weight loss……which I’m not, of course. Nor do I want to be…….and nor do I eat extra to make up for the shortfall. Some dietician or nutritionist will be able to explain the details of that.
This kind of riding is completely self-indulgent. On an almost windless day, to be able to speed through beautiful countryside, following rivers, going through forests, hitting high viewpoints followed by fast descents to valleys……and then that breakfast sandwich……does it get any better?