Thursday, October 27, 2011

A good, but sad, Quantocks ride

I finally dragged myself in to London to watch a Rugby World Cup game with a bunch of black-clad Kiwis. The final deserved such commitment (getting up at 6.30 on a Sunday) & it was great to meet up with Anna (a family friend from Te Puke), her boyfriend Luke & an assortment of their friends for the occasion. It seemed that I would finally visit a Walkabout pub, but the line outside dictated otherwise & we ended up in a pub around the corner. It was good fun being surrounded by rather excited Kiwis, even if the game didn't exactly go as planned & was rather tense in the later stages - the celebrations were worth waiting for. Over brunch it was neat to catch up with Anna & Luke and share various travel & living-in-the-UK stories. With a drive across the city we parted ways & I headed home to pack wet-weather riding clothes & my bike in the car & head west to Taunton for a few day's riding - my first MTBing since the last shoulder incident.

As always, it was great to see John, Anna & their young twin daughters. Richard had also travelled west for some riding; unfortunately for us, there was a heavy rain warning for the west-country on Monday. But most of the rain seemed to fall during the night time so we were left to watch out the window as light rain fell & we hummed & hawwed about when to go out & ride around the Quantocks. Eventually we got out the door & managed to ride for about three hours with little rain falling on us. We still managed to get quite wet as the ground was still wet from the previous night's rain. As it was extremely blustery on the top of the hills, we spent most of our time riding down in to & up out of the coombes in amongst the trees. It was a nice little 24 km ride, with nothing too technical or steep to test my lack of biking.

It was with some surprise that I looked down at my bike during one of our many rest/chat stops to see a crack working its way around the top of my top-tube. Closer inspection showed that it had started on the bottom of the tube at the weld to the down-tube & propagated up both sides of the tube. My bike was dead & there was to be no more riding for me this week (or for a while - it's terminal) - I did manage to get up the last hill & back to the van, when fittingly the heavens opened & further dampened my spirits. Various plans were hatched on the drive home - basically, I'll get a hardtail frame & ride that around flattish-Hampshire when I get around to it. But with dealing with a new car, moving city, finding somewhere to live, starting a new job & waiting for that first pay-packet - it's something that will be on the back-burner for a while.

Whether it was in deference to me or John & Rich were also a little tired from Monday's ride, there was no riding on Tuesday. Instead we took the van down to Sidmouth through the beautiful Somerset & Devon countryside to pick up a table from Johns' parents. We managed to eventually find our way down on foot to the nice little town center & the non-commercialised seafront & spy the mouth of the Sid (strange name for a river that). We managed nicely with the weather - that is until halfway through fish & chips on the shore it started raining on us. We walked home much more directly.

John & Rich went out for a much longer ride on Exmoor yesterday, but I was happy pottering & amusing the girls - even if Esther was rather poorly. I broke the drive back to London up visiting family & then having dinner on the side of the Avon with Andy.

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