Saturday, July 14, 2012

Cycling holiday

Despite a weather forecast which started with a sunny-ish day (rain by evening) and then wet thereafter, I managed 127 miles over 3 days, with only 2 of those miles being wet.

Not that one

The holiday was the Cyclebreaks Heritage Coast tour, amended to two nights at Westleton, on account of the Halesworth Latitude festival taking over the hotels there.

View 12-Jul-2012 in a larger map

Fearing that the weather would make this the only day for distance, I made 10am start from base, stopping for a sandwich at the Eat Anglia café next door to the Earl Soham Brewery (beer from next door on tap -- so it might as well be the brewery tap from that point of view). Thus fortified, I took part of the route up to Halesworth, and ad-libbed my way from there, suddenly recognising as I turned south at Blyford that I'd cycled in the opposite direction on previous tours ending in Southwold for the night.

The A12 was full of slow-moving traffic when I arrived there, so it was a bit of a wait to cross, but then no problems making the way to Westleton, and a very nice meal of ham hock terrine, and beef and onion suet pudding, washed down with the Summer Dream elderflower ale from Green Jack Brewery.

It was pleasing that this time, after 45 miles, while my legs were starting to tire, I was otherwise perfectly OK that evening -- unlike three months earlier, when doing the same distance around Ipswich had me creaking and hobbling. Even with the awful weather, I have at least managed to get back in condition for the season.

View 13-Jul-2012 in a larger map

Friday was dull, but apart from a few flurries of rain late morning, dry (except for underfoot). The route was almost the planned one, though I extended a mile or so further north on the marked cycle route, going through Brampton. Lunch at the Blue Lighthouse in Southwold (skewered king prawns, and treacle tart), a little walk along the promenade, and a paddle in the very chilly sea (nobody was swimming), then back on the bike, for the journey back via Walberswick and the muddy off-road section where I came a cropper last time in dry weather. This time forewarned, there was just a lot of barefoot wading while carrying the bike, both on that stretch, and later -- after a pause for a pint at the Ship in Dunwich -- on the bridleway between Dunwich Heath and Westleton.

Dinner was chicken liver with black truffle pate, macaroni cheese, and what they called peanut butter cheesecake, but was more like a peanutty mousse.

View 14-Jul-2012 in a larger map

It was raining when I woke up, but by 9, the rain radar was showing the rain had moved to the south, with a few laggard patches remaining in its wake. So rather than going south through Wickham Market and then across, I decided to go west and not turn south until the last minute. I did run into one of those laggard patches of rain for some of the route to the A12 at Darsham, but then on, it was dry from above.

Scarecrow at Denham

Although I knew it was likely to be a bad choice, I decided on the minor route between Heveningham and Laxfield, and was greeted with water running across the road as I came into the former, then soon after going past Ubbeston, there was a hundred yards or so where the road was running ankle-deep with river, and finally a similarly deep puddle at the junction at Banyard's Green; but from then on it was dry, and by the time I came to the White Horse on the A140 at Thornham, even trying to be sunny.

From there, heading south from Finningham, the roads suddenly started to be wet again, suggesting that rain had been through very recently, vindicating the choice of route. And after a pause for a coffee at base, the rain started again as I began the drive home.

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