Training 4th Jan

Riders John & Andrew
Distance 56.24 mi
Time 4h29m06s
Average Speed 12.54 mph
Ascent 645 m
Run.GPS Training Profile

First ride for three weeks and after the excesses of Xmas. This also gave John’s sore leg a chance to rest, doctor reckons it was muscular although thought initially it might have been a hernia.

Boy this was a cold one. Absolutely blinking freezing. The first really cold winter weather we have had for several years was close to its peak on this Sunday morning. Andrew’s car was indicating an outside temperature of -5C as he drove to John’s. The metsite at Wallingford had recorded an overnight minimum of -7.6C and a recorded temperature at 9am of -6.9C! We were heading for Wallingford that morning!

We headed off on John’s familiar commuting route to Wallingford via Wittenham Clumps, it would have been close to 9am when we arrived in Wallingford where we now know it was -6.9C. No wonder our water bottles had frozen solid!

We were heading for Christmas Common and along the Chiltern ridge towards Lewknor. So from Wallingford we cycled through Crowmarsh Gifford and past Ewelme to Sliding Hill to Swyncombe. Before the hill we saw half a dozen Red Kites fighting over some food in the field next to the road, we stopped and watched for a few minutes. The hill was a very straightforward climb and much easier than Watlington Hill I had cycled before. Once we got to Cookley Green John took us on a slight detour to the top of Britwell Hill and a trigpoint he hadn’t logged before!

Any brief stop in the journey quickly allowed our bodies to cool though and shivering we headed to Christmas Common past the Tree Barn where a few weeks earlier we had bought our Christmas Trees. This road along the top of the ridge is lovely and offered great views down towards Oxford over the frozen landscape. We crossed the M40 at the Chiltern Cutting and over the old A40 London route. Down the steep hill wary of ice to Kingston Blount. We needed to recross the M40 and John was pretty sure the old route to Lewknor went through an access tunnel and he was right. A nice way to avoid negotiating Junction 6 of the M40!

Lewknor is when our feet froze, they had been going numb for a while but they were now rapidly becoming blocks of ice. Everything else was fine, feet were a problem. We cycled through Wheatfield and Stoke Talmage and had a brief stop for a kitkat and a stamping of feet near Clare. Removing our gloves meant our fingers quickly became cold and sore when we restarted. We had decided to head for the Waterfront Caf