Fitness, Cokers, ...

A ride report really.

Quite a nice spring day today - some sun but not too much, and the rain which
threatened held off. I was off work (early Easter) and so sarah and I went for
the first Coker ride of the year.

The weather this year has been really poor - very wet all winter. That combined
with Foot + Mouth (keeping all decent Muni trails closed) has meant that neither
of us has had much in the way of decent riding since the middle of winter.

We planned on a short trip to get warmed up again - a 20 mile round trip to a
nearby village and back. The start wasn’t particularly auspicious as our planned
route out of Reading turned out to be blocked by a closed path (because of FMD)
despite the fact that it seemed to run through an open golf-course rather than
fields of animals.

A bit of a detour later and we were out into the villages and countryside north
of Reading. Everything is coming back to life now - one churchyard was absoutely
covered in primroses. Fertile soil I suppose…

We weren’t riding fast and when we got to Stoke Row (our destination) were both
feeling the effects of the riding. It’d only been 10 miles so we were a little
annoyed about our lack of fitness - much improvement needed before the Red Bull!
We stopped for a short break and bite of lunch at Maharaha’s Well - paid for in
by an Indian dignitary who was appalled when he heard that the village was so
poor it didn’t have a reliable water source. Apparently it is over 300’ deep and
it takes 10 minutes to wind a bucket down to the water.

The return journey to Reading started off downhill. We kept expecting it to turn
back uphill all the way but before we knew it (the miles slipped by quickly) we
were back in Reading with nary an uphill to be seen. It was at this point that
we realised that the going had felt so hard on the way out as it was all
uphill - a fairly gentle but insistent gradient. Mind you, we still are unfit at
the moment but didn’t feel quite so bad about it.

The footpaths and bridleways through the beechwoods seem to be opening up again
now - after all, the only livestock there are deer and they respect no
boundaries anyway. Maybe the Muni can be dusted off after all …

Paul Selwood