Rain, wind, puncture – the recipe for a perfect afternoon in the saddle


From the top of Ashbury Hill – looking down on Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire

The only problem with signing up for the Cotswold Autumn Classic 100 miler on 1st October is that I’ve got to get the training going again and have to lose the few pounds I had started to put on to see me through the rigours of an English winter.

Domestic duties meant that I missed the club ride on Saturday to see the Tour of Britain so a run yesterday with Mrs Omil was followed by getting the bike out this afternoon, despite it being a bit wet and a lot windy.

I climbed the Fawler and Blowingstone hills and dropped into Lambourn (as far as I could see the horses were too sensible to be out today) and back over the Ridgeway via Ashbury – struggling to hold 15mph (24kph) on the flat into a headwind of at least that speed.

I thought at least I might be rewarded with some Strava PRs on the downwind sections. In the end I got 9 and 23 ‘achievements’ in all – but for being so shallow the cycling gods punished me with a puncture in the pouring rain, and then the realisation that the spare tube I’d taken with me fits Mrs Omil’s hybrid but not my Rose.

The ignominy of being picked up by Mrs Omil in the car ended another perfect afternoon in the saddle. Nearly 50km in 1h 45min with 461m of climbing.

I’m sticking with the tri bars at the moment. Learning so far:

  • they do help you go faster
  • they are not great in big crosswinds
  • your neck does stop hurting (quite so much)
  • your hands are a bit of a way from the gear levers (not too bad if you think ahead)
  • they are also not near the brakes (a big issue if you don’t have any thinking time)

On balance, I really like them.

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