27 Mar - The Dean 300

Next ride is 'The Dean'. I rode the Dean as a permanent last year and loved it. I must be cautious though, I did it as a permanent in June and the weather was beautiful. It was one of the sunniest weekends of the year. I have read ride reports from previous Dean calendar events, and if the weather is down ... its a long way.

Route from Bikely - anticlockwise

So, I'll be setting off, early in the morning for a 6AM start in Oxford. I am looking forward to the ride, hoping to take in plenty of country scenery.

This time last year, I was doing my very first 300km bike ride and was full of apprehension. It feels very different now. There is still a wonder of 'what will it be like'. I should know the answer, but I also have the experience that each ride, even the same distance/route, can feel very different on the day.

Oh well, we'll see. It will be the conclusion of a tough month for me and dare I say it ... a treat no matter how it feels on the day.

27 Feb - The Kennet Valley Run 200 - Sunday Update

Last week LEE wrote on the forum: "I'm on the PBP2011 treadmill as of 07:30 on Saturday (along with the rest of the Faccombe 5)". I wasn't sure if he was referring to the Faccombe 5 being on the Kennet Valley Run on Saturday; or the Faccombe 5 being on the PBP2011 treadmill. Anyway, he would have been right on both counts. I have been given the official go ahead by all affected parties, and came out with my 'I'm doing PBP' statement for the first time.

This is great! A whole 18 months of planning, anticipation, excitement, fear, ambition, milestones, doubts and reading PBP threads.

And we're off, the Kennet Valley Run ... done. Its an excellent route with great scenery. Shame about the rain in the first leg, but I don't expect any less any more! Pompey Phil and I were laughing, it was such a strong downpour. We stopped in a bus shelter for a while, as I wanted to put my cap back on to keep the rain off my glasses. Had something to eat also because I was fading a bit.

And when the sun came out, it was brilliant. The sound of sky larks was wonderful. With that and the snowdrops and crocuses, you get the feeling spring is here. Saw a couple of kites on the way back also. Maybe this is their new extended boundary?

There were many punctures and mechanicals again. RichForrest had the worst of it when his recumbent tried to transform into a foldable: Clicky. There were many blessing is disguise for him, it could have been so much worse in timing and location.

Hummers also had a rear tyre blow out which set him back, but nothing so bad that he wouldn't catch up with me again at the Tutti Pole. I think he restrained himself when ordering from the waitress, but there was still plenty of non-verbal innuendo going on!

Last year, I had a dozy patch after the half way mark. Doing the ride for a second time, I can understand why. Its certainly hilly on the way into Bratton. The nice tailwind helped us out of the hills on the way back this time.

I took the obligatory church picture which was St Marys at Great Bedwyn. And here is obligatory follow up history: "The present church of St Mary's was started in 1092 and took about 200 years to build. Beneath the church are the massive remains of a Saxon church begun in 905. The south transept houses the 14th Century tombs of Sir Adam de Stokke and his son, Sir John. In the chancel is a memorial to Edward Seymour, father of King Henry VIII's wife Jane, and later Lord Protector to the young Edward VI. The bells are one of the heaviest "rings" in Wiltshire - the tenor bell weighs over a tonne."

Wiltshire white horse, but which one?

Other photos are on the slideshow till the next ride or here: Clicky

27 Feb - The Kennet Valley Run 200

I've entered this popular audax: the Kennet Valley Run, a repeat of last year's February ride. The route goes from Grazeley (south of Reading), running south of Newbury, out to Bratton and back, running north of Newbury.

I am not going to look at the weather forecast at all this week!