Fortunately this morning’s rain is but a distant memory and the ride home is full of sunshine. Reaching home, I upload my data and discover I have just surpassed my total yearly mileage from last year. 2014 was a low point in so many ways of course, but nevertheless this fact give me a pleasant sense of achievement.
I’m glad my new bike is in the bike shop. This means I am on my old Madone, which is as well because this morning’s weather forecast turns out to be not entirely accurate. Admittedly it is dry leaving the house and it is only by the approaches to Bickleigh that some faint mizzle starts. On the ride to Ashley however it has strengthened to heavy rain. By Tiverton it is a deluge. Salinger was certainly right on the money when he suggested that it seems to rain heaviest in the centre of town.
There is a head/side wind as I roll down Green Lane but nevertheless I make a bit of an effort and am happy for most of its length to be within a whisker of my new best time. As the landscape opens up however the wind whips up and my legs ease back. Sitting up, I grab my bidon for a drink only to see it promptly and inexplicably tumble from my grip. Laughing at my clumsiness I can’t help but think about how my average speed will tumble from having to stop and turn around to retrieve it. But it is a Rapha bidon, after all.
Sunshine bleeds through the morning mist. The valley ahead glistens faintly. Pockets of warmer air offer delicious interludes from the September chill.
Cars driven badly cut me up at all four roundabouts as I leave town. The frustration raises my adrenalin levels and I pound the pedals faster than I have in a while. Passing the village sign I realise I have ridden home nearly a minute faster than at any other time this year. It wasn’t even a tailwind.
Leaving the heart-rate monitor at home, I tell myself I will just ride lightly on my commutes. Approaching Bickleigh however I am aware that if I push just a little harder into this headwind I can keep an average speed for the ride above 30km/h. My competitive spirit (at least with myself) wins.