I set off determined to remain slightly breathless on my usual walk. This was easy at first but became progressively more difficult even on the climb up through the beeches. Once I had my wind I would have had to literally trot back along the road to remain breathless as I finished in under a hour. Normally it takes me an hour and half or even longer. I saw and heard my first Skylark of the year on the descent beside the undulating prairie. Today I was seriously overdressed and without enough ventilation in my rain jacket. So I walked back with my jacket over my shoulder and a cold tail wind chilling the sweat.
I was more sensible in my choice of cycle wear and lucky in missing the rain. The brightness quickly gave way to overcast and windy. Plenty of cyclists out training and a few joggers and dog walkers in the lanes. 20 miles at an hour and half and then I turned straight into the roaring wind. Only one short stint in bottom gear as I crested a steep hill straight into a gale. I have never seen so much winter flooding in the fields. The river was swollen to an entire field's width at the valley bottom meander. There was only one hardy, lady birdwatcher in a full length down coat using a telescope in the car park. I wasn't so short of breath today and saw 20mph quite regularly. Still only 29 miles total in two and half hours exactly and I can really feel it in my thighs now. The slightly longer stem doesn't seem to be a problem though the "big hands" Campag lever extensions were hardly noticeable. I took bites out of a Corny, dark chocolate, muesli Big Bar over half an hour on the last leg. With no shopping to do the Junior was adequate for what I needed to carry with me. It's odd how tipped up the Brooks looks despite being close to level.