23 Feb 2015

23rd February 2015 Wintry Wonderland

Monday 23rd 34F, +1C, gales, overcast, wintry showers. We were woken repeatedly by the roaring of overnight gales. Though it was only forecast to gust to 17m/s [38mph] it must easily have exceeded that suggest limit. The wind is expected to slowly subside during the day. With just a chance of sunshine later.

It stayed windy and mostly overcast. Rest day.

Tuesday 24th 38F, 3C, windy, overcast. As I went for a walk in early sunshine the sky turned leaden. Fortunately it rained only lightly.  Blowing a 30mph gale for most of the day.

I left late morning under a heavy overcast with spots of rain in the air. Cruising at 19-21mph with a tailwind going. Coming back was a bit different. Only 18mph on my usual 31mph descent despite using the aero bars. Down to 6mph in bottom gear on one rise with my nose dripping onto the crossbar. Only 13 miles.

Wednesday 25th 40F, 4C, breezy, variable cloud with some sunshine. I enjoyed an hour and half walk to the woods. It was very odd to see half a mile of fresh mole hills running along the verge of the track every yard or so. But not one spoil heap had moved out into the crops. What was it about the field or the crops that they didn't like? I was treated to a whole collection of small birds foraging in a clearing deep in the woods. With Several Black caps and a Tree creeper amongst them. Nearby, three birds of prey were having a heated argument. There was rather a cold headwind coming back but at least it stayed dry.

After lunch I rode off into light rain to do some shopping. It brightened up later so I headed for the nearest LBS for some spare inner tubes. It rained hard for the last five miles coming home into the wind! With all the rest days due to injury and bad weather it has taken me almost 2 months to break the 1000km barrier. Lazy git! 23 miles.

Thursday 26th 36F, 2C, breezy, heavy overcast. The forecast is for dry but grey weather with the wind increasing to 25mph gusts. So, slightly less windy than it has been. Talking of which... I keep wondering whether all my tricycling was a case of OCD. I became so used to going out that my days would seem empty without a ride. I would even go out if I was in pain.

The perfect solitude of the woods and fields. Rough grazing with nothing to graze it but wild deer and hares. The only visitors, apart from myself, are probably huntsmen. Though I never see any other boot prints here than my own. Even the vague signs of former tractor or vehicle tracks are historical. Presumably there is not the woodland activity in this area that there once was. The major tracks through the woods do show recent signs of clearance and harvesting. The contours are often too steep and far too wet for modern, large machinery agriculture. There is very little in the way of outdoor animal husbandry. Most Danish cattle live year-round in large sheds being fed on silage and big bale hay. There is very little free-range pig farming. Most of the many millions live out their short and miserable lives in closed sheds. The few sheep in the landscape seem to be pets. In fact there are probably more ponies visible in the fields than any other animal. Yet "real" horses are almost absent.

This year I am taking far more rest days but don't feel so guilty as I would normally. Is this the thin end of the wedge towards less emphasis on tricycling? Or simply a symptom of grey-sky, winter blues? The yellow lens sunglasses just aren't doing it for me this year. I no longer feel the need to compete with myself at raising my average mileage. Is riding 8000 miles or 13,000km per year even a sensible thing to do?  

Walked for an hour and half along new tracks in the woods. Saw 6 deer and several birds of prey. It keeps getting darker between brief brightening. It was amusing to watch two vast, 6-axle juggernauts reduced to a crawl to pass each other safely going in opposite directions on the local, blindly twisting rat-run. It has got so bad with GPS cheats that some farmers have had to put up signs on their drive entrances to stop foreign lorry drivers trying to take short cuts through their yards! The price of employing cut-price, Eastern European drivers with cut-price, car GPS units in the cabs of their international transport, HGVs.

A nasty headwind going to the shops. Returned at an easy 18-20mph, riding on the hoods, despite being heavily laden. The invisible speed restriction signs are working well. Not one vehicle passed the speed indicator board without it flashing. Average indicated speed is in the high 60s in a 50 kph, village speed limit. There is no board for the 60kph stretch where speed must be in the high 80s. 17 miles.

Friday 27th 37F, 3C, breezy, overcast with continuous rain or sleet. The wintry precipitation is supposed to continue all day. The rain petered out mid-afternoon so I had a short ride. Only 10 miles.

Saturday 28th 39-43F, 4-6C, breezy becoming too windy. Did my usual walk in boggy conditions. Went out on the trike after morning coffee . Crosswind going. Crosswind on the second leg. Headwind gale coming home! A few cyclists out training in the bright sunshine. Even a couple of racing bikes on car racks. Which is suggestive of something happening.  Overtaken by an MTB'er who expressed delight in the good weather. Too heavily laden to stay with him on a long, uphill drag. That's February over with. 19 miles.

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