Todays ride was extremely action packed, I feel like I have finally arrived as a cyclist now.
Firstly I wanted to do a 50m ride which is the furthest I will have ridden so far. I managed to finally get to grips with my Garmin to get turn by turn navigation working properly and off I went. It was ridiculously slippy and I nearly fell of within the first 10 miles on some wet autumn leaves that had fallen on the apex of a corner I take regularly. Crisis avoided though as I managed to get my foot down.
My first 22 miles with the Garmin were faultless, I had a decent average and was in the groove, until I realised it had totally frozen, I had no idea how long I was off route for. A reboot made it come back to life and eventually I found my course and was away again having saved the broken ride for later (I deleted it from Strava quickly). I was fuming though, the thought of having 2 rides and losing it as a single ride with 50m total was not good so I spent the ride thinking how I could merge them back together.
After a couple of miles I put it behind me and was in a nice rhythm again with a low heart rate. I was moving down a nice piece of straight and heard a car, a quick rearward glance confirmed a white van man coming up behind me, I tucked in and awaited him to approach. It was at this point his van sounded like he was doing 30 mph and rammed it in first gear as he decided to overtake me before a corner. An oncoming car came around the corner and he quickly realised he had made a mistake, he slammed his brakes on and I heard his tyres screeching as he tried to stop and then tuck back in. How he didn’t hit my I will never know, it was my first true close shave with death on the bike. My feelings were felt by my friend Garmin who quickly told me my heart rate was too high and in zone 5. Sums it up really, I totally bricked myself. To add to the whole experience the jerk lowered his window and was waving his arms as he screamed ‘get off the effin road’ go figure that one out?
Anyway onwards I went and found my rhythm again, I banked around a corner to find a tentative squirrel staring at me, as I approached it it decided to move left, then changed it’s mind and went the other way, its body must have felt the rubber of my tyre but again another lucky escape.
Onward I went, I was putting a bit of oomph into a really nice straight, made of that tarmac that can’t be described other than it makes your bike feel like its just gliding across thin air with a whooshing sound that is like music to my ears, probably comparable to how I imagine the ping of a club hitting a golf ball. Then I saw it, a tractor with a hedge cutter that was spewing thorns and bramble bushes all over the place, I quickly heard a clicking noise coming from my rear wheel, and pulling over confirmed my first puncture.
10 minutes later, absolutely filthy I had a new tube fully inflated with my CO2 canister and was on my way once again. I had a further issue with the Garmin where it took me off route once again but I knew where I was this time so powered on knowing I would catch up at a later point. I am really gutted about that part as it left me .3 mile short of 50 on my entire ride, however I don’t start and finish the course on my door step so I figure I did the full 50 and a little more.
I really need to get to grips with the Garmin, my OSM maps don’t seem to be working or my expectations are too high, the maps only seem to display the route and major roads but doesn’t have all the off shoots for me to view. Research required I think.
Once I got home it didn’t take long to find a GPX Mergetool that is free and online, props to the developer for making this available, it worked flawlessly and gave me a single ride GPX for manually uploading to Strava.
All in all this was an awesome action packed ride, I totally loved it and all the things it threw at me. It made me realise as I was on the home stretch that my bike isn’t a vehicle or a toy, it kind of becomes a friend that just keeps giving. It was rewarded with a through clean and re-oil ready for tomorrows quick recovery ride.