Sunshine and teamwork

It was another lovely day in Kent today …. it’s starting to look like we might actually get a summer this year.

Today, there were four of us who’d arranged to meet to get some miles in – Warren and Malcolm of course, myself and Warren’s mate Brian who I’d met on the first ride with Warren sometime ago (in fact it may even be back in April – definitely pre-blog). Brian had since bought a new bike (Pinarello) but had been having some problems with his knees, so hadn’t been riding much. I think the combination of the weather forecast and some persuasion from Warren had convinced him to come out with us and have a go today. We met at Chiddingstone slightly earlier than normal (9am rather than 10am) which apart from the usual challenge of getting out of the house on time – was actually better for me – less traffic on the roads on the way to the meeting point which was a nice change.

At the beginning of the ride Brian said that because he’d not been riding much and was struggling with his knee he might be a bit slow and would prefer a flatter course if possible. Both were fine with me – as anyone reading this will have noticed I’ve been trying pretty hard on recent rides so was happy to have a quieter day at the office. We took a looping ride to Penhurst – then up the hill and on towards Leigh. Warren seemed to be back to full health and was attacking the climbs with gusto and Malcolm was up there with him. Brian was struggling a bit so I dropped back to let him get on my wheel so I could help tow him up Penshurst Hill. I know only too well what it’s like to suffer and struggle up the hills, so I was quite happy to do a bit of domestique style helping today. Actually it was quite good fun trying to bridge the gap back to the breakaway (Warren) group here and there. 

I was feeling good again today and this evening as I write this I feel surprisingly and pleasingly fresh. On the road today after Leigh, we rode through Hildenborough, Shipbourne, back to Leigh on to just short of Bough Beech and back to Chiddingstone. We all parted ways there about 11.20am with Brian and Warren heading one way and Malcolm and I another. I still felt like I had plenty in the tank on the way back home but I think Malcolm had been pushing up the climbs a bit more than I had and he was slowing a little. Malcolm has a usual picnic sport on the way back (overlooking the valley behind Fordcombe) and I said good bye to him there and rode home pretty much as quickly as I could as I’d promised Mrs GdL that I’d be home for midday. I got home at 12.05 – which is closer to the estimated time than I’ve ever managed before on a Saturday ride having thoroughly enjoyed myself. According to bikehike.co.uk, I’d ridden 75kms. According to Garmin I’d had an average heart rate of 135, which is 10bpm or so lower than a normal ride but we’d still averaged just over 25kph, which feels very good. Today I even managed a to take a snap whilst riding and a “team” photo at the end. Thanks for reading!