The long weekend meant more time training of course. I headed out of London riding south west, supported by a light tailwind which helped me make great time down to Alton for the lunch stop about 80km down the line. The riding was on mostly busy roads and plenty of dual carraigeway unfortunately, but it was at least very fast.
After an hour break and a big lunch I pushed on to Winchester, always a lovely place to call in at, but didn't really have anytime time look around...as I was taking this photo:
A very inebriated gentleman went out of his way to inform me me that the boat race was off! Some idiot had gone for a swim.
New travels fast in Winchester...I was impressed. (And peddled away FAST).
So crossing the town, I finally got on some B roads and did plenty of hill climbing as the road snaked its way towards Southampton. There were a few pretty hairy roundabouts with very fast moving traffic to negotiate - I hate doing these on a bike as the traffic is often moving too fast for you to get in the right lane and cars never let you in. But finally exiting town, I got to the far more pleasant New Forrest:
Passing through the ancient woodlands and emerging at Christchurch (the other one):
On the outskirts of Bournemouth. I felt great on this ride, and pulled up at my accommodation with 176km on the odometer...pulling up to a beautiful beach view despite the murky weather.
I did that in about 7hrs of ride time, with a 1 hour break. Far, far to fast, still need to slow down damnit - this challenge is not about speed its about sustaining long rides 10 days in a row. I think I got nervous by the millage still to go when I saw a sign at Winchester, and hit the gas. But it will be easier in June with longer daylight hours and thats not a factor.
But, I had the pleasure of my Wife's company for the rest of this trip
She'd got the train down from London with her bike. So on Sunday I rode back into the Forest and met her at the train station at Brokenhurst. I love this area, it makes me think this is how most of Britain would have looked, before the onset of agriculture and the rest. The villages in the area are very pretty as well, and you often see animals wandering around freely. We saw this huge Bull in Brokenhurst:
And there are ponies abound, which graze on the common land
We cycled across to the far northern edge of the park, enjoying fantastic riding conditions on narrow sealed country lanes weaving there way through forest and heathland. Our lunch stop was at the very cute Red Shoot Inn both eating a massive ploughmans to fuel up:
We then rode back down to Brokenhurst, mostly downhill and with a tailwind to boot so it took half the time that it had on the way up. My wife headed back to Bournmouth on the train while I stayed on the bike. So in the end the days tally was 110 km, making this a fantastic training week all told: 372 km / 231 miles. This month I need to hit 1300km so no celebrations yet. But am feeling tip top, though you cant tell in my mug shot:
In the meantime the folks at Rethink put me in touch with a few other keen souls cycling for the Charity this summer. John is cycling 700 miles from Calais to the Mediterranean sea..the Med?! Why didn't I think of that? Here I will be ending in the northwest corner of Scotland when John will have motivation of the beach at the end to pull him through...well done mate. Also another LEJOG'er Paul who is setting off at the end of the month and Stephen doing the coast to coast in a single day. Always good to hear what others are up to share ideas...good luck all!