In the week immediately following the New Year, our Sunday ride was foiled by some particularly wintery conditions. A sharp frost left the roads coated in ice following the deluge on the Saturday. Ice and rain, two of the three foes we encounter throughout our winter.

This weekend it was the turn of the wind. A strong westerly was blowing all weekend. A steady and relentless 20mph plus.

Saturday 10th January 2015.

Saturdays shorter ride was hampered not only by the wind but some very heavy rain at times. Conditions were truly Flandrian! Given the limited turn out, no doubt a result of the less than favourable conditions we pushed our way around the 80km route at a fairly good rate. Making the most of any tailwind, and pushing hard and low into the jaws of the head winds. It never fails to make us smile as we maintain an easy conversation spinning out our top gears on a long straight nudging 50kph. But As you make that turn back, conversations halts and it’s time to take turns on the front with the speed taking a bit hit and the heart rate going skywards. Saturday was a bracing ride and although a tough push, it provided us with some quality winter miles in the legs.

Sunday 11th January 2015.

When is a good time to put in the first big ride of a new year? Festive excess and time off the bike is the enemy of a long, hard winter outing. It was with trepidation that we set ours for the second week of January. Allowing the first weekend to locate the bike a reacquaint yourself, and the second weekend to get back on that horse and blow the dust out for the year of riding to come.

Seven set out, and five finished the full distance. At roughly 165km in some very difficult conditions; what it lacked in rain it made up for with some stronger winds! This ride was a war of attrition for most. Getting round in one piece was the goal, along with setting our sights firmly on some of the long rides the spring and summer has in store. We’ll be letting you know about some of these very soon.

The elongated north/south profile of the ride meant that the westerly wind buffeted us for most of the seven hours moving time and never really providing us with that friendly push from behind. As sporadically as that was encountered it was matched by the occasional block headwind. Tough going. We set out before first light, and rolled home after the sun had set. A full day in the saddle. The dust blown off and the marker set for 2015. The next 100, 200, 250 will be easier right? Let’s hope so.

Well done to those who rode out this weekend. From the foul weather Flandrians of Saturday, to the early season mile munchers of Sunday. Some deep digs at this early stage in the year.

Chapeau folks.