My first ride of 2010 yesterday morning was certainly memorable.
It was frosty yet sunny as I pedalled through Yaxley before getting on to the Holme Road and taking a rare tailwind on the way out towards the fens. Where the sun hadn't risen above the hedges there was a crunch under the tyres but since I have upgraded to the Schwalbe "Blizzard" I wasn't fearing any 'slideage' (well not much).
The beaters for a local pheasant shoot were looking about as cold as I felt and I didnt see a bird for the whole ride which made me think there would have been slim pickings for them.
The road up Moonshine Gap isn't that hard in usual conditions. It is a nice friendly climb of about 2 miles up to the ridge on Bullock Road. There was a lot of frost on the road so I took the decision to pedal up seated... Making it to the top made me feel fairly good despite heavy legs from minimal riding recently.
Looking over towards Ashton the sunshine I was riding in looked to end and there was a bit of mist and what looked like rain just above the trees.
I thought about changing my plan but cracked on into the wind before a tail wind roar back to the crossroads at Washingley.
Straight on? (1 mile shorter and easier climb) or left?
Of course I went left and within about half a mile was in the teeth of a gale and some bloody big snow flakes were battering me.
I went right towards the climb back to Haddon and found the first untreated road of the morning.
The road from Elton Furze to Haddon is the nearest thing Peterborough and its surrounding area has to a Flandrian berg. It takes a mile from the village to get to the peak in one direction but 400 metres coming back. It is about 10% and a bit of a leg breaker.
It was super icy and the snow fall was settling so I sat down, engaged bottom gear and just ground up. Slowly...
At the summit the visibilty was low and I was feeling the cold through my gloves and overshoes. Fortunately I had left myself a tail wind 5 miles home which despite some funny looks from motorists gave me the chance to get ahead of the storm so when it arrived back home I was drinking coffee in the conservatory.
Roll on summer eh?