24 Jul 2015

23rd July 2015 A goodly wodge of miles.


Thursday 23rd 63-68F, 17-20C, quite windy with lots of bright, sunny periods. Just a short walk around the village today to find the door was open to the village church. So I had my first glimpse inside in the nearly two decades of my invasion of Denmark. Had a chat with a roadside home owner about his outbreak of Japanese Knotweed. He was unaware of its name nor how difficult it was to eradicate. The young Coots are still doing well on several local ponds. Harvesting has just begun in earnest. There are lots of different grain crops in the fields this year. The land changes dramatically after harvesting. Lost views can reappear once the extra meter of vegetation has been removed from the low, undulating landscape.

Rode away after lunch buffeted by a strong crosswind in bright sunshine. Once I had finished shopping in the first village I headed across country to the next. Lots of mostly elderly, well laden cyclists going the opposite way. Presumably an organised tour which had caused them to get strung out over several miles. Some waved, others grinned or shouted a greeting. Two more villages later and I had to fight the wind to get home. Several buzzards were foraging in the newly harvested fields. They seemed quite  unperturbed by the racket and huge clouds of dust being made by the harvester and accompanying grain collecting tractors. Yet, the moment I passed on the nearby lanes they took off and circled. Tricyclists must get a bad press in bird of prey circles. Only 26 miles.

Friday 24th 63-69F, 17-21C, light winds with sunny periods. A good excuse for a ride. So I set off at about 10am suitably fortified with marmalade on toast and milky coffee. Going well to start with despite a crosswind. I was cruising at about 18-20mph and nipped up to 23-24mph to overtake another long gaggle of organised tourists. I kept the sun ahead on my right and just kept going until well above Fåborg. I passed a newly mown field with the hay still lying just as a whirlwind lifted handfuls of stuff high into the air. It slowly crossed the entire field, as I rode along. Much to the surprise of a buzzard which must have been standing in the field before being so rudely disturbed. It took off and mewed all the way to the nearest copse to recover its composure.

I continued on through the undulating forest and then, quite unintentionally, down towards Korinth. Where I was slowly picked up by a trio of club persons on a training ride going at about 18mph. They ignored my greeting as they passed so I tacked on the back for few effortless miles. They turned off early so I had to climb through Korinth unaided. So I did most of it out of the saddle just because I could.

Then on to Katterød, Pejrup  and Diernæs. [Not necessarily in that order.] I stopped at the first roadside bench of the day to enjoy a sandwich and banana in burning sunshine at Pejrup. Before taking a small road down to the wooded coast and through the impressive sanatorium buildings. After that I looped back up to the main road to Fåborg where I dropped down onto the tri-bars to speed the long descent into town. The white, lane-demarcation lines are breaking up badly so it was rather bumpy at times!

On the way to Horne, where there is a ferry to Germany, several black "Gestapo" cars went past. So rumours about Merkel dictating tewrms to Greece about may have been true after all. There were also quite a number of British motorcycles about during the day. Always a pleasure to hear their unique sounds amid flurries of memories of my teenage years. I paused at a very busy marina to enjoy my second, and last, mature cheddar sandwich and another box of pure apple juice. A red helicopter came inland [noisily] and landed in the grounds behind the posh restaurant.

The long climb up from Falsled to Jordløse was completely spoilt for me, yet again, by the ridiculously rough surface of the marked-off cycling assault "coarse." There are long stretches where somebody couldn't be arsed to grind the white lines away prior to a very thin resurfacing job. Then the new dashed lines were relaid over the top, but out of phase with the [Roman?] originals. The lack of adhesion over the former white dashed lines means that cyclists must employ a fully suspended mountain bike with 4" tyres to make any serious progress. It's fine when one can safely use the perfect [billiard table] tarmac of the traffic lanes but the roughness of the "cycle lanes" [and I do use the term loosely] would have hindered even Hannibal. I seriously doubt that his elephants would have been remotely impressed with this example of bronze-age, Danish roadworks either. Cyclists are the new black.

The Google Street View image [above] from 2010 shows only a very short stretch of the near, 3 mile, long, snaking climb. The lower, and much rougher half of which, lies is in the forest has deteriorated rapidly since Google deigned to make the climb. Being the main, south coast road, the traffic is usually fairly continuous in both directions. Most drivers are completely ignoring the 60kph/40mph speed limit and rarely miss a chance to cut any corner. So the chance of cyclists escaping to the excellent traffic road surface is remote for most of the 75m -250' gain in altitude. Remind me not to use this stretch for any "Everesting" attempts! Not that I'd live long enough to ever finish the ride.

The Carradice Junior saddlebag proved that it has easily enough capacity, for a day out, but that the lid straps are stupidly short. The canvas lid is still safely covering the contents when the straps are several inches short of reaching their buckles. The usual nylon "sphincter" with tension cord keeps everything [large] safely contained but there is absolutely no way for the straps to meet. Nobody at Carradice has ever used a Junior in anger, apparently. Perhaps there is genuine Carradice bailing twine available, in a choice of luxury tan or traditional white. Just for those special moments when you need to hold the lid shut when the Junior is full to the brim, but still "two straps short of a buckle." There's a free, catchy logo for Carradice in there somewhere. ;ø]]

As can be seen in the image above I tried a crude, PVC plumbing pipe spacer with a toe-strap around the seat pillar for the first time today. [see image below] But the Junior still swung noisily to my cadence and the buckle wanted to wear out my shorts however it was "dressed". This arrangement really needs some further thought. Perhaps a zip tie with the "buckle" tight against the bag? Or longer fixing bolts for the minimalist rack and some extra spacers? I notice the holes in the bag material, made at the factory for the supporting straps, are badly frayed now. Which is very odd considering how little use the Junior has had. Strictly retained for fine weather and longer rides. Had Carradice downgraded their fabric for my Junior? I have a really ancient example which is still in remarkably fine nick.

My arms were quite red afterwards, from all the sunshine, despite the thick layer 50SPF gunk I plastered on before leaving. I did a fair bit of climbing out of the saddle today. Though not because I was saddle sore for a change. The Brooks B17 'Special' seems to be behaving itself at the moment. Though I resent the slightly tipped up nose angle purely for aesthetic reasons. Shame the Cambium was such complete, and utter crap, comfort wise. It just goes to show that width and Brooks rail springing aren't everything. Today I remained quite strong to the end for 67 miles total. Only consumed one completely emptied bottle of water plus two small boxes of apple. Not a single photograph taken all day, again. Tut-tut.

Meanwhile, in the t de f  [with deliberate use of the lower case to show due respect] the raving lunatics in the scum scrum still think it's all about them. Spitting and obscene gestures at Froome by these escaped lunatics? Whatever next? Real sportsmanship?  No chance. This is the t de france after all. Nibali attacked the moment he saw Froome had a serious mechanical problem. Then denied his complete lack of sportsmanship just to prove something, or other, to his sponsors, on the last climb. Poor eyesight, perhaps? The overhead cameras clearly showed him double-checking to ensure Froome was stopping for vital repairs when a stone jammed between his rear brake and the tire. No doubt a short-sighted attempt by the Sky wind tunnel boffins to reduce drag?

Froome actually climbed out of the saddle to prove he can ride a bike with great style as well as great speed. Perhaps something to look forward to next year? That, and a new, low drag, colour-coordinated, spit screen, complete with Sky logo? I suppose it would be too much to ask for all the riders to compulsorily wear knuckle dusters? Thought so. Contador could give Froome lessons in hitting lunatics while simultaneously climbing out of the saddle. Cycling mitts do offer some slight [and unintentional] protection for the knuckles. Though it would be a great shame if the riders injured themselves fending off yet more of the deranged scum scrum. I'd blame the parents. If they actually owned one...

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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