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Riding and riding and riding in the rain

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Each month since April I’ve ridden a minimum of 500km and as of last weekend I’d ridden 460km in October. My friend Malcolm has just got back from a trip around Europe and we agreed to meet up for a ride on Sunday morning. I generally hate riding in the rain and sure enough it was raining pretty solidly on Sunday morning but I really wanted to get that 40km done to hit 500 for the month, so I decided to go for it anyway. Malcolm was still keen too and was on his Cyclocross (winter) bike having put his lovely De Rosa away for the winter. 

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We met at Withyam at 10am and rode up through Friars Gate up onto the Ashdown Forest (the first big climb in the route profile) and down around the edge of Uckfield. I was surprised that I was enjoying the ride despite it being in the rain. It wasn’t too cold and it wasn’t raining too hard – but it was definitely wet. We were both enjoying ourselves and headed onwards through the rain and drizzle. Outside Bentley Wildfowl & Motor Museum (http://www.bentley.org.uk/), I called home and said I was going to stay out longer than expected as I was having more fun than expected. Being a rainy day, there wasn’t much going on at home for me to miss. 
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We’d already covered the 40km I was hoping to do by this stage and we pressed on via Barcombe Cross and Challey Green and on to the “big” climb of the day along the A275 from Sheffield Park (http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-sheffieldparkgarden) up to Chelwood Gate. It’s the second big climb in the route profile from about 68-75kms through the journey. Last time we rode this route together we’d been pushing on as fast as I could go and I blew up at the top of this climb – but this time after a few good nights sleep I had no problems with the climb, or any of the climbs. I didn’t feel like we were going that fast but looking at the data when I got home – it’s the fastest I’ve ridden this distance and I hadn’t been close to pushing hard, which is really satisfying. 
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Malcolm and I parted ways at Wych Cross and I headed home. The last 20kms were a bit harder as I’d been out without any food (just two bottles of energy drinks which were pretty empty by now) and I started to feel a bit tired/hungry. Considering I’d only gone out to do 40kms getting around just over 100km on two bottles of drink was pretty silly, but I’m pleased with the outcome. 

Bikehike (http://www.bikehike.co.uk/) says the route was 103.03km with an average speed of 26.8 kmh. Cyclemeter (http://www.abvio.com/cyclemeter/) had said 104.22km and an average of 27kmh. I’ll take the slower score but I’m still happy. 1030m of climbing and 563km for the month. At 26.8 kmh it was the slowest ride I did in October but the fastest I’ve ever ridden over 100km. 
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It was great to see Malcolm again and the most enjoyable ride in the rain I’ve ever had. I think I’ll do some more now to see if I like subsequent ones as much.

Thanks for reading