The next stage in my training regime called for a change of pace and direction. Rather than heading east as is my usual direction, I decided to head west and into the New Forest. This also entailed a move away from the flat, distance ride to something more ‘lumpy’!!!!
I started with my first attempt this year to conquer my nemesis, the infamous Bursledon Hill. I was very pleased to report that I did actually manage it in one go – a bit puffed but still there. This was then followed by a second hill up to the Hamble road and then down into Royal Victoria Country Park, up the Netley Hill (yes there’s a theme developing) and out along Weston Shore to the apparently unimposing Itchen Bridge. All this is, by the way with the wind behind me! The Itchen Bridge is very deceptive. It doesn’t look steep, but it is – and long – but the ride down is fun!!
Then I wound my way through Southampton on Cycle Tracks, avoiding the horrendously busy main roads and into the very pretty village of Eling, the half way point. Here more hills started to present themselves together with the fact that I had now turned into the wind. Eling turned into Marchwood and Longdown before crossing back towards Hythe via the very lumpy Applemore. This part was tough trying to keep the pace up as well as coping with hills. Although they were not large, the constant up and down exercised everything severely!
Hythe was a blessing because they have a nice promenade there looking out over Southampton Water – and a very nice Fish & Chip shop!! I spent a pleasant half an hour’s rest eating sausage in batter and chips and fending off the seagulls! When it came to return via the Hythe Ferry, I had a bit of a shock as they had decided not to run the next ferry and I had an hour to wait. The bottom half of me rejoiced that it was spared another hour in the saddle, but the top half reminded me that it would get cold and start to seize up. Sure enough, coming off the ferry everything was very stiff and not very powerful.
The return was back over the bridge and down Weston Shore, but I found a shortcut that thankfully avoided Netley Hill, and then on to the Country Park, turing right towards the Hamble river and the Ferry. This latter was ready and waiting for me thankfully so a swift crossing ensued. Final bit was up another hill into the village and back home to Gemma’s to be rewarded with a nice cup of tea and homemade cake – Yum!!
Distance – 36 miles
Average Speed 11.1 mph
Time – (not counting the wait for the Ferry but including other stops) 3 hours 45 mins
Knees – painful
Bottom – well oiled with Moo Cream!!