Distance: 53.5 miles. Elevation: 3137 ft.
It was a misty, wet and windy day. Luckily it wasn’t too cold. Soon into the journey I realised that my left knee was hurting again, even though it had been feeling OK yesterday. I was hoping it would be an easy ride. So I wasn’t impressed to find out, once I’d met the others at Marden, that the route was to include Lockyers Hill (25%)!
There were four of us out today. On my way to Marden I realised that I had forgotten my goggles. Luckily I managed to borrow a spare pair that one of the other guys had in his car. After setting off slightly later than usual, we made a good average of 16.5 mph to the Medway Bridge. The route there and the bridge itself were completely new territory for me so that was very interesting. Soon after that came Lockyers Hill. Because it was so wet, conditions were tricky. One of the riders lost traction on the steep part and couldn’t get going again, so walked the rest of the way. Luckily I managed to keep off the slippery bits and made it to the top OK. In fact, despite my knee, I made it to the top in my fastest time, although only by a margin of two seconds!
We fed and watered at the café in Trosley Country Park, another new one on me. Despite the fact that 3 of us had mudguards, we were pretty mud-splattered by now and had to do a bit of cleaning up before we left the café.
During the return journey the hitherto light rain turned more persistent and I donned my rain jacket. Due to the rain and my knee pain, I peeled off before the end and made my way back via East Peckham and Yalding. I crawled my way up Yalding Hill, posting one of my slowest times, almost 2 minutes slower than my best!
By the time I got home the rain was coming down harder. I was soaking wet and covered in mud. I was really glad to have been able to borrow those goggles, otherwise I would have had it all in my eyes too! I had enjoyed the ride, and I still had enough motivation to wash my bike down in the rain!