The seemingly endless deluge of rain had a brief cessation for about 10 hours last Wednesday and was replaced by something closely resembling a normal Summers day. I’d placed an undue amount of faith in the weather forecast a few days before and booked a bit of afternoon time off work to get a decent road ride in. The lack of decent conditions and being hit for six with a really bad chest infection have made getting on the saddle uninviting for the last two months, so feeling slightly perkier and having a blue sky above me provided the necessary kick up the arse to get pedalling.
After stocking up on some magic energy bars from freewheel I left the working folks of Nottingham behind for the afternoon. A short spin over a swollen Trent via Lady Bay bridge led to Holme Pierrepoint which should be housing some water based Olympic shindigs in the coming weeks. A scattering of cumulus clouds drifted overhead against a rare blue sky. It got me thinking that one of the reasons we associate rain with depressive moods is that it’s hard to look up when it’s raining, rain makes you hunch up and stick your head down and stare at the pavement. A bright blue sky does the opposite and invites you to look around take more of your surroundings in. Plus rain soaks you piss wet through. With the sun on my back, empty country lanes and hours of daylight, all felt well with the world.
I had set out a route that kept to secluded winding lanes through the Trent Valley and into the Vale of Belvoir, a vast and flat rural idyll peppered with picturesque villages that usually have nothing more than a church, a village notice board and if they’re really lucky a shop. Riding through the Vale of Belvoir is like travelling back in time about six decades, though the eerie thing is you rarely see any people about, presumably because you’d need to be working three jobs and sell your kidneys to afford to live there.
Beyond Belvoir Castle the landscape becomes more undulating with more climbs and descents between villages. As the sun moved West and closer to the horzion I passed through Croxton Kerrial, Saltby, Stonesby and Waltham on the Wolds. A final slog through the vale towards Nottingham was complimented by some dazzling sunshine which photos do no justice to.
I was both chuffed and frustrated to see that I’d clocked just over 99km on this ride, if I’d known I would have gone round the block a few times at the end to round it up.