Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ride to Newbury

Cycle ride with Ed to Newbury 2009/06/20

Went to: Winchester, Newbury, Andover
Distance: 91 miles
Total time on bike: 6:17
Average speed: 14.6 mph
Total climb height: 1320m (take the absolute value with a pinch of salt but about 37% more than the 65 mile Isle of Wight ride)

Today I had a great day on the bike with Ed Altenburger. We've both got Orbea Orcas but his is the 2009 model which has a slightly lighter frame and he's got wheels one level above mine. It's a very pretty bike. I'm not jealous. Ahem.

It had been raining just before I woke up at 7:00 and the roads were still wet when I set of to Ed's house at 8:00. There weren't any puddles and the slick tyres didn't really cause any spray so I stayed dry. Following last Saturday's bag incident I was bagless which is the best way to cycle. I'd managed to squeeze two Mars bars in to my saddle bag which was how many I'd eaten last weekend.

The way up to Newbury had some climbs but nothing too steep so we took it easy and we arrived in Newbury 2.5 hours after leaving Winchester. We both had bowls of non-skinny latte and we shared some Rocky Road/Tiffin (thanks Ed!).

Another latte shot at Newbury canal

We'd planned two routes to our next stop at Andover: one which looked great on the map and one which avoided the worst of the hills but still hit 240m elevation. We'd had such a comfortable ride out to Newbury that we decided to tackle the hillier route. Ed would regret this choice an hour later but given that he made it home in one piece it was great training for him (and me).

We were using the iPhone to find our way. The Maps application served us well. We had network data reception every time we stopped and the GPS showed where we were on the map making it easy to decide which road to take when we weren't sure where we were.

We could see a big ridge in the distance and we knew there was no way around it. But it was still a bit of a shock to turn a corner and find that the road suddenly took off vertically. Well, maybe a 16% gradient any way. Ed tackled the first half and took a breather whilst tying to pick his lungs up from the floor. It was good to hear the cars labouring to get up the hill in 2nd gear.

Steep hill west of Newbury

I scouted on ahead and found that it levelled off after another 200 metres so went back to encourage Ed but he'd already set of so had nearly caught me up anyway.

The views were magnificent from the top; this photo is about half way up the final steep bit.

View from steep ascent west of Newbury

Once over the hill we had a mixture of pleasant gentle decents and more climbing to do. The hill had really taken it out of Ed and he was in a bad way on the ascents for the next few miles before they finally petered out 6 miles north of Andover.

Newbury ride elevation profile

We stopped at Sainsburys in Andover and had a sugary drink and some food and saw 3 old planes doing fly-bys accompanied by 2 helicopters - was there an air show on?

Thankfully the last leg home wasn't too hilly although we don't live in Holland so there was still some climbing to be done. I got home at about 4:30 and devoured what was left of Emma's lovely Victoria sponge cake.

All in all, another lovely day-long bike ride. My total tracked road bike mileage is now up to 1729 miles. Roll on 2000 miles.

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