Had to visit family in Monmouth yesterday, so I decided to multi-task and cycle there! My wife and kids would come up later in the car. It’s only 20 miles so I planned a circuitous route, around 35 miles, and set out.
First, I should have remembered that it was Usk Show, and that everyone in the world who owns a horsebox would be arriving in Usk at 8:37 on Saturday morning (the precise time, strangely, that I started passing through the town). The traffic queue was seventeen thousand miles long, and it took me a while to get through. Bit hairy. Lots of cars and angry horses, and me on my bike, still cold cos I hadn’t warmed up yet, and very very conscious of my clip pedals.
But I got past eventually, and headed out into the wilds of Monmouthshire. It was misty. Should have burned off by about 9am but … it seemed to be getting worse. I don’t have lights (note to self: buy lights for bike), so I was a bit jittery anyway. And then the first hill.
The route I’d planned was one I’d driven in the car before but … you don’t really notice hills in the car. I stopped halfway up this one for a drink, then when I started off again … I tumbled. Inevitably, I fell away from the side where my foot was still unclipped, and ELBOW and ROAD met. Blood. Ouch. Bastard.
But I went on, watching the nice patterns the blood spatters made on my leg.
The next hill … it was more of a ‘cliff’ than a ‘hill’ really. I struggled, really hard. And when I made the top I stopped for a celebratory drink and a few Jelly Babies. Thought maybe I was behind schedule. Decided to go back down the hill and through Raglan to Monmouth, the way I know. And … well … it was a STEEP hill.
Going down, I noticed the 1-in-6 sign, and then I also noticed I’d hit 40mph. That blew away some cobwebs! And the heat produced by my speed cauterised the wounds on my arm, too.
I ended the ride right on schedule. 30 miles (was hoping for longer), but lots and lots of fun. There is a road in Monmouthshire that is forever bloodied Lebbon. And one day, I will be back.