It was cold this morning, the coldest day since last winter so far. When I looked outside at about 8am it was 1.3 degrees C, but it was a beautiful morning with not a cloud in the sky. By 10.30am I was out on the road and it was up to 4 degrees. First the first time this autumn I had my winter socks, base layer and gloves on, along with my mid temperature bibtights and my "thermal" long sleeve jersey (that' I'd felt cold in at 11 degrees last week). I rode for just under 2 hours as I needed to be back to collect my daughter from nursery at 1pm. I did have to stop along the way to make a couple of phone calls for work, which was also an excuse to tinker with the tension of my rear quick release and wheel bearing pre-load (it was feeling a bit draggy – not that that's an actual word).
Last night had been another rough night in our house for sleep (the second in a row) so I've had about 10 hours sleep in the last two days (yes I'm getting the excuses in early) but it really did feel like a battle today. The wind picked up a bit but not too much and riding conditions were very good today – it really was a great day to be out. I just didn't feel particularly strong today. As it turned out my speed was decent enough (average of 27.5kmh over 48.5km) but I did only climb 650m today and that's a light days climbing. I was getting up the climbs ok, it just felt a bit tougher than normal.
As I was on a time constraint, I didn't venture as far from home today (the views off the top of the Ashdown Forest would have been spectacular today) but I headed out to Groombridge via Frant, then up Groombridge Hill, again at ok speed. From there, I rode down through Fordcombe towards Penshurst but turned left and rode up Grove Road before I got there, admiring some of the fantastic local houses as I passed them by. Kent and East Sussex are really blessed with some beautiful houses in the country. I turned back down the hill at the top and rode towards Blackham figuring today would be a good day to ride the opposite way past the little golf course and back through towards Withyam via Beech Green Lane. When I ride my normal way there's a short and steep descent down to the golf club that leads you at speed through a fantastic s-bend (watch out for the large pothole on the way through). Approaching it from the other direction I was expecting a steep climb but fortunately it wasn't nearly as tough as I'd imagined. Roadworks diverted me through the middle of Blackham, I then turned right and rode along the A-road towards East Grinstead before turning left into Beech Green Lane up a little climb and then a nice long, fairly fast descent towards Withyam, then it was left up and over the hill on the way back to Groombridge and then back home into Tunbridge Wells.
It was a shorter ride than I'd normally like to do by about 20km, but still it was good to get out even though I was feeling pretty tired. It was a beautiful sunny day.
I had to move pretty quick when I got home, a very quick shower and recovery drink, then I jumped in the car and got to my daughter's nursery with about a minute to spare to pick up time. As it turned out I'd made pretty good calls on my riding kit for the day – I never felt worse than cool as opposed to cold but I think next time I'll ride with my mitts rather than my winter gloves. I haven't missed them and I think it needs to be a little closer to 0 degrees before I really need them.
Tomorrow, I've got a full day's work followed by the Chasing Legends film in the evening, which of course I'll write something about ….. here's the trailer below. it's supposed to be a great film (even if you're not a big HTC Columbia fan).