Sunday 23rd August
YUSS!!! It's Raining! and horizontal to boot. What? I hear you ask, are you mad?
Hans, my alter ego has now become Crazy Hans, according to Lady Gilbo, confirmed when she saw my garb. I must admit I may have resembled Max Wall (old skool entertainer), with my black intermediate weather cycling tights, black socks, black cheapo Karrimor trainers and black shorts, finished off nicely with a HiViz waterproof jacket! Mmm, I must have looked gorgeous! Who cares, anyhow, I'm not vain! (and it's probably just as well....). To finish off 'the look' I also donned a black skull-cap and a pair of waterproof gloves, the colour of which was......black! All this attire is a completely new thing to me, bought at the same time as my bike, but to you guys who are hard core, this is probably quite normal, not that I'm trying to say that there's a load of Max Wall impressionists out there (titter, titter!)
Yes, it's really, really raining and really really windy, plus very low cloud. Oh yes, and it's a wee bit nippy out there, too.In Pembrokeshire Welsh you would say 'Slabog Iawn', which would be the eqivalent of the Scottish 'Dreecht' equating to the English 'Lashing it down'. Not too sure what that would be in German, I'll have to ask Crazy Hans.
The reason for all this happiness and 'cockasnoot' attitude? Well, I've bought all this (expensive) gear and now is the time to try it out. Is this what they'd call 'road testing'? So, off I trundled, determined to tackle the half mile long, 30 degree hill that I'd, so far, avoided, that confronts me as soon as I step out of the house. Yeah, go on, boy, go for it, even tho' your bum cheeks and little legs are a tad sore from yesterday, do it! As I mentioned, in yesterdays' blog, I am very unfit but, my luverlee machine studiously ignored my weezing body, effortlessly changing thro' the gears, easing away my thoughts of 'blood pressure' and 'heart', until, I was there, I had made it!
Even over this short distance, my apparel had already received a good testing, with the tunnel of trees shaking off golf ball size raindrops down onto me and, making a very effective, head - on, wind machine. I was very grateful that I'd decided to go for a mountain bike style helmet, which has a peak (can be removed), for it was excellent at deflecting all that the weather gods could throw my way, and I was also pleasantly surprised how warm and dry the skull cap was keeping me. I am particulary prone to chilled ears and this cap comes down over them. Nice one, Hans. Also pleased that I fitted some 'spoil the look of the bike' mudguards. At the top of this road there is, what we call, the fingerpost. Just a junction where it meets the B road, really. But, my goodness gracious me! it is bleak up there, one of the highest points in Carmarthenshire and, basically, moorland and forestry. I had decided to turn right at the fingerpost but, due to the fact that Mr. Windy had blown me into the bank, I had a change of heart. Left it is, then.
As I am at the very top of this hill, called Moelfre (meaning bald mountain), 'left' results in a steep and windy hill, followed by two long straights and, in it's entirety, is 5 miles long. At least there would be a tail wind, I thought. This would also be my first encounter with a classed road, meaning 'traffic'. Like I said yesterday, confidence not a good level yet. What the hell, I'm here now, go, go, go!
Ooerr! I am really motoring, perhaps a little too fast, so gently apply my brakes, conscious that it's most wet but, I'd no need to worry, these brakes are superb, far more effective than caliper types I had remembered from the past. However, what was deterring me from my 'need for speed' was the extreme shaking of the whole bike on this road, a road where the top layer has worn away in places, leaving sometimes smooth, sometimes rough patches, particulary the area, on the left, where traffic has eroded it. Thank god for these gel gloves is all I can say! Will carbon forks make this any better, anyone? This was putting me off, somewhat, not pleasant at all so, I chickened out and took another left which led me back onto the route I took yesterday, phew, what a relief!
Made it home, no heart attack! Now for the acid test regarding my gear. I am bone-dry. Really, I am. Apart from my socks and shoes which are soaking. Hair dry (what little there is left), hands dry and body and legs dry. Result! May be expensive, this cycling gear, but most effective.
By the way, I always like to give objects a name. Should I call my bike 'Koney' or, Judy Lux? (Dew Deluxe, get it?). Answers please. Probably won't be able to do any blogs 'til next weekend as I'm starting my new job this week, although I'm hoping I'll be able to get in some evening rides. Besides, you could probably do with a break from Crazy Hans, Lady Gibo certainly seems to want one!