So after a crash and a clatter, swollen bits and flesh wounds, rest and recovery, the question remains; how to ease back into action?
There can be only one answer.
A flat, easy, road ride.
I pose the question.
You know that ride you did along the coast to prepare for the cobbles?
Do you reckon it’s sensible to do that one?
So that’s decided then. The coast road. The gravel track. The sea wall.
Heading out is straight forward. Nice, easy rolling. The weather favours us. The day is perfect. We reach the ‘flats’, swampy farmland that separates Newport from Cardiff, the Taff from the Usk. We find our exit point. Head for the sea.
The road quickly runs out.
Tarmac turns to dirt-track. Dirt-track to mud. We negotiate a field, a hedge and a culvert, cleats full of slop. 25mm tyres slip sliding. Is this what I meant by ideal? YES.
Back on dirt track. I stop to take a picture. 4 wild horses dash over sensing sugar. They hustle and nudge me, but I can’t help out; that banana has my name on it.
The Sea wall. It looks so tempting. Craig can’t resist and rides along it for 50 yards. I go to follow and remember that I’m on my first ride back and if something looks like you’re probably going to fall off it, then you probably will. Common sense takes over.
We disturb bemused anglers and walkers, wondering why the roadies in full club kit are taking their skinny tyres on terrain fat ones are made for.
A large pylon. Massive in fact. Built to bridge a river mouth. My admiration for these edifices rubbing off. I wander beneath it and take a few pictures, cycle shoes sinking into the swamp.
More track and mud, sea wall and distant landfill; the surreal section of the ride nearly over.
Finally we’re back on the tarmac. I was hoping to be out for 1.5 hours. We were out for 3. What a bonus.
Road is enjoyable of course, but getting off it? On skinny tyres? Through the backwaters of our own backyard? Priceless. Spot the cross riders and the classic obsessives. They’re the only ones on the road with mud splattered backs on a perfect dry day.
It’s good to be back.
With thanks to John and Craig. Poster art by me. That’s Craig on the sea wall. John is very sensible.