Youtube is a blessing and a curse. First, it enables you to watch just about anything you could ever imagine. In my case that means trawling through old videos from bands in the eighties and pretending I'm not middle-aged and grey. Or bald, or sensible. Much. So you can find that great music without having to buy it, but at the same time remember how long ago it all was.
Yesterday was my sister's 50th birthday. Slightly unreal to actually think that anyone I grew up with could possibly be that old. Even though my brother passed that milestone a few years ago, it couldn't be that my closest sibling was five decades old. Still every cloud has a silver lining, and the occasion of a family lunch at my parents' house in Dorset to celebrate the occasion meant a cross-country, straight-line ride was on the cards.
And speaking of clouds, there were a few of them, but fortunately none of them dumped any rain on me. And the wind was fairly light, and when it did come it was only a cross-wind, which all helps. After a week of not riding I was distinctly sluggish to begin with, and it took me as far as Wells before I found a rhythm to my riding. It was also a bit odd that there seemed to be loads of traffic on the roads at 7.30A on a Sunday morning, until I realised there was a car boot sale near Cheddar. I thought e-bay had killed them off, but no, still thriving.
The first major obstacle was the hill from Dinder up towards Shepton Mallet, pretty steep but not too long, and I re-traced a Tour of Wessex back lane to avoid the centre of Shepton. Then it was down to Evercreech, up over the big hill to Bruton, before heading over the rolling countryside towards Gillingham.
Big climb was up to Shaftesbury and Zig-Zag hill, and a blast over Cranbourne Chase to finish. The rest had clearly done me some good, and it was the quickest I have ever done the route by some margin, and some of the previous trips had been wind-assisted. Today's route is a really lovely ride. A fair bit of climbing, but not too much, steep ups and long sweeping downs. I also had one of those moments of bumping into another organised ride, this time a British Heart Foundation Charity thing going the other way near Cranbourne. I must have said hello about 50 times in the space of a couple of miles.
Other than that I didn't see many cyclists today, probably all off doing sportives or been battered into submission by the weather. Fingers crossed for next week's Dartmoor Classic, I really don't fancy 106 miles on the open moor in the wind and the rain. The last couple of years have been brilliant, rally sunny and warm. So if you have any kind of hotline to the people who control these things, please put a word in for me. Thanks.