etape St Albans

The Hell of Ashdown

A beautiful sunny (but cold) morning in the English Countryside, taking in the historic and beautiful counties of Kent and West Sussex, 106km of cycling at its best. The organisers (Catford CC) may be duly proud of their achievement, great marshalling and organisation, thanks guys! I together with two others from the Verulam made the short trek down to Biggin Hill to ride this route. The weather could have been awful, but despite a cold overnight, a sunny day with temperatures down as low as one degree in the valleys, but in the car on the way home, we noted 13.5 degrees. No doubt that somewhere around 1700m of climbing is challenging at this time of year, but what a great way to do it!
(I did think, three weeks ago I was climbing Mt Diablo in California, and a year or so ago I was in the Tokai National Park in Cape Town, however, this route was quintessentially English.)
I was aiming for a moving time of around 4h, so not far off the objective.

2012-02-26 Hell of Ashdown Summary

etape St Albans

Ooops, went down

After a week in the balmy southern hemisphere, including a mountain bike ride in the Tokai forest outside Cape Town, (note to self: don’t like downhill on mountain bike trails, frightens me…) I went out with the club on Sunday morning. I chose to go o ut with the usual “mods plus” group, having done enough during the week to maintain the fitness. I turned down Jon’s offer of a pre-club ride ride, I didn’t think I was up to that, and the domestic situation would have been “disrupted” shall I say. We rode out to the World’s End Garden Centre at Wendover to use their cafe. On arrival it seemed that the cafe was closed, but we were informed there was a new cafe at the rear. Suffice to say, the cafe business is obviously more profitable than the Garden related business, a great big new cafe awaited us. It had only been open a few days, and they were not very able to get tea & cake for 20 cyclists particularly quickly, but they got there. ┬áVerdict on cafe: we’ll return, the cakes were good and the costs had not shot up with the new surroundings, maybe that will happen after they are re-established.
On the way back, clouds overhead threatened, at one point enough precipitation fell to get me in my rain jacket, but it was not long in duration. As we approached Dagnall hill on the return, I shed the rain jacket, it was not needed. At the top of the climb, we were sauntering along, waiting for the rear of the group, the guy in front of me swerved to avoid a pothole, lost it, went down, and I was too close to avoid to crash. No broken bones identified at the scene, but at least three of us went down. My back wheel has a jaunty buckle, not enough to stop rotation, but definitely in need of a spoke key. The main pain to me is where I landed the canister of electrolyte in my back pocket. It is no longer canister shaped, and there is a distinct bruise in my kidney area. My helmet showed signs of having hit the tarmac with some force, it is broken, so an order to wiggle today methinks. It will not be used again.

St Albans

Government reply to StopRailFreight petition

The government’s reaction to the petition is sadly indicating that this government wants to push through the rail freight interchanges, even if they are proposed in the wrong places. Joined up government is what we need. If they are going to widen the M25 around that part anyway, what is the harm in adding a motorway junction to service this major rail/road interchange. I don’t object to the Rail Freight terminal per-se, but do think it is madness without direct access to/from the motorway network,, which it is proposed to be build beside.
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