The soul(o) ride

The sun shone weakly, golden rays struggling to melt the early morning frost. Mist crept along the surface of the river Taff. The wind was having a lie in (it was Sunday morning after all).  The roads were bereft of cars. Perfect autumn serenity.

Yesterday I rode through the Vale of Glamorgan and along the heritage coast line, carefully avoiding patches of black ice and burying my chin in my neck gaitor (a buff) as my bike carved its way through the chilly air. Occasionally a buzzard hovered over white-tipped fields. Flocks of wading birds bathed in the flooded fields by Ogmore Castle. Waves peeled along the reef at Nash point, an activity watched protectively by the lighthouse. Over three and a bit hours, my riding veered from moderate cruising and watching the world go by to hammering and grimacing up the hills.

Often I bang on about races and racing; it’s all cyclo-cross this and three peaks that. They are of course, great. They have their place. A little test of ability and the camaraderie of battle. And sure… rides are very enjoyable, lots of company, social interaction and encouragement. After all, Who wouldn’t want to be out with like-minded people? A shared experience is both beautiful and bonding. But to my mind nothing, but nothing trumps the soul(o) ride. Wind in your helmet. One big gear. One long, hard, turn on the front. Lost in your thoughts whilst the world spins beneath you. Absolutely Priceless.*

*Let’s steal this word back from Mastercard.

Route details; Whitchurch-St Fagans-Welsh St Donats-Cowbridge- Colwinston- Ewenny- Ogmore-Rhoose-Barry-Llandaff-Whitchurch. Undulating course, 60 miles approx, 3hours 15mins. Bike choice; Traitior Luggernaut single speed. Regrettably I dashed out of the door without my camera in my jersey pocket. Thanks To Stuart Yendle and Open Aspect photography for these excellent images.

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