Retracing my youth

Christmas Eve. What a fine day this is, maybe the most exciting day of the year as so much promise lies ahead…

For me it sparks another feeling, the fever that is the Rapha Fetsive 500. I have never completed one to date, nor will I this year, but it does give me the chance the limber up and test my legs at this time of year. This time it is going to count for something as I will be using it as a barometer for Christmas 2017.

Next year I will have no excuses, no distractions as I will be half the World away from my nearest and dearest. It is they who are going and to New Zealand for 5-6 weeks around the festive season. I will meet up with the extended family for Christmas lunch and have the 3 work days to negotiate but other than that, there are no excuses. It will be my best ever chance of cracking it.

So what of Christmas 2016? Well I had good intentions but only ended up going out at around 2pm, so with just over two hours before full dark it was a question of where to go and what to do?

I picked my old training ride from my youth. A loop out to Burton Dassett and back home again, 24 miles of lumpy riding with a great stop off midway. With Storm Barbara blowing in it was a tad gusty and thankfully the worst of it was in the first half, with the helpful tail crosswind for the return.

It was hard work from about 8 miles in as I turned directly in to the wind. The descent from Wormleighton has never felt so sketchy as my subtle change of direction meant I had a strong cross wind to contend with and severe buffeting on a 20-25mph section, ouch!

The leg that followed to Fenny Compton felt like treading treacle, huge resistance and no real speed for all my effort. It was a blessed release to hit the big hill to Avon Dassett shortly after as the wind dropped and the climb felt easier than the flat, (never thought I’d say that).

Still the view at the top, with 30 minutes of sunshine left was sublime. It was quiet too, just a few dog walkers but I pretty much had the place to myself and then home with help from Babs. Storms can be useful.

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