Friday, July 31, 2009

Getting Back Into the Zone - well cycling in the wet!

As I said in my last post - the change in weather, from sunny and summery to changeable, showery, blustery and colder has dampened my cycling enthusiasm. Finally after 3 days on non-cycling I resolved to pop out around the Fens. It was not too warm and shower after shower was sweeping through. The last picture taken whilst cycling before this ride was at the weekend - it must be getting frustrating for the farmers as "Combining" is not possible when the weather is too wet. My son has been on stand-by over the last few weekends but each time it has been too wet to go out and harvest. So here is one Farmer making the best of a slightly less wet weekend.


In order to get myself out on the bike despite the weather I ended up putting a once rain-proof cycling jacket and leggings over my Lycra! I did not take my waterproof cycling boots though - I stuck with my cycling sandals. Getting wet was an unpleasant prospect when I set off although it was warm enough not to mind rain on my feet. The clouds were dark in the skies and as I reached the outskirts of the Fens there were very few blue gaps in the clouds. The was on the left as I cycled out.


This was on the right and I was heading out towards the pylons just where it was darkest.


It did rain and it rained hard, but as is normally the case once you it starts it is not really that bad - with my leggings and coat on I was, if anything, slightly too warm - but enjoying being out in the fresh air. The clouds were still there but not quite as dark - although it looked gloomy everywhere I looked.


Mind you a few miles further along the rain stopped and then some blue patches appeared in the sky and before you know it the blue patches outnumber the cloudy patches.


By the time I had cycled through Wicken Fen it was starting to get warm in the sun and I had to stop and take of my waterproof leggings - the warmth of the sun on my legs was wonderful - it is amazing how fast the weather went from being rainy and blustery to glorious warm sunshine. At the rate it was going I would have to stop and put on some suntan lotion as well.


The evidence of recent rain was everywhere though - in parts of Wicken Fen the track is a mud track and quite slippery after the rain. There were loads of puddles along the Fen roads - as the Fens shrink because of the peat drying out it causes the roads to undulate and water collects in the smaller dips - quite nice for splashing through though as the puddle water is warm from sitting on the tarmac road. Here by one of the Lodes is more evidence of recent rain.


Mind you easy come easy go, just as it did not take long for the clouds to disappear it did not take to long for new clouds to appear. The very unpredictability of the rain means that the farmers must set up irrigation for some of the crops as they cannot depend upon the showers which can be quite local. Here is what smelt like and onion field (but could be leaks) being irrigated. There were two of these jets pumping water out.


Yes there were a few drops of rain before I got home. The clouds in the foreground of this picture made sure I had not escaped all of the rain. Mind you I got home thoroughly refreshed after a few hours cycling - I know I always return from a trip wondering why on earth I was so reluctant to go out. I must remember that feeling and bottle it later. I think this is similar to Mark Beaumont's point about needing to be in the zone. Mind you he was having to cycle around 100miles/160Km a day - day after day which takes more than just popping out for 30miles/50Km at the end of an afternoon. Cycling is a very simple, almost pure activity though - which is I guess what "drives" me to cycle.

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