Today I rode my penny farthing in the Worcester St. John's cc reliability ride. A reliability ride is basically an organised group ride, traditionally held in the late winter to help riders get fit for the coming season.
Today's ride had two route options and I chose the short route that avoided 20 miles of hills. However, even the short route was over 30 miles and as it was very windy it proved to be quite a work out!
This photo was taken at the start head quarters. Worcester auto club. A great little venue and I was already looking forward to returning here for my coffee and cake after the ride!
Once the ride got underway it was clear it was going to be a tough morning. The wind was extremely strong and riding towards Droitwich on the A38 was very tough going. For me, sat up in the wind on the penny farthing, it was really slow going. I couldn't wait to turn out of the wind and get some rest bite.
Fortunately for me the route was at least fairly flat, one or two climbs had my heart rate climbing but at least it was all rideable. The headwind did actually help at times, when I was riding down the quite steep road to cross the river bridge the wind held my speed back so I didn't have to get off and walk.
The head wind eased off at the turn in great witley and this was very welcome, the snow that had started to fall was a bit worrying for a while but it soon stopped.
The road back towards Worcester was on I knew very well, having raced my modern time trial bike along it many times in the beacon little mountain time trial. Fortunately this part of the course is the flat bit before the hills so with the help of the tail wind I was flying along... At about 12 mph.
As I got closer to the finish I started to get passed by riders who had done the longer route, it was great to get a few words of encouragement as they passed me. I just hoped they wouldn't eat all the cake at the HQ before I returned!
I needn't have worried, as I finished the ride and walked into the HQ I saw that there were plenty of cakes left. So I got stuck in and started replacing some hard burnt calories!
It turned out to be quite a hard workout, I'm going to have to hope and pray that the wind doesn't blow like this in April as my average heart rate for the 3 hour ride was 160 bpm. That's way to high to maintain for the 7 to 10 hours per day that I will be riding.
Overall it was a great day, thanks to the organisers and cake bakers for all their efforts and thanks to everyone who came along to make it such a popular and successful event.
This final photo is my heart rate data from the ride...