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It was a beautiful morning for a ride, sunshine, blue skies but pretty cold 2C/35F but it’s that time of year.  I picked a route that took me on a wide loop around the town of Northampton.  A very rural route and as it turns out, quite a hilly one too.  Some of the hills I knew about but some of the route was unknown to me.

There was a total altitude gain of 2125ft which is quite a lot for a shortish ride.  In the process I burned off around 2900 calories.   Every time I went down a hill I seemed to be at the foot of another climb.  Nothing too major though and the countryside was a distraction.  So beautiful at this time of year as all the trees are starting to take on their autumn colours.  Where the sun hadn’t made its presence felt there was still the remnants of last nights frost by the road sides so care was called for on some of the early descents.

I went past two of my Fly Fishing haunts on the route, Pitsford and Ravensthorpe.  I have been very remiss this year and have done no fly fishing at all apart from a little dabble when in France.  I guess I have been having too much fun on the bike!

It seemed pretty peaceful riding along alone again over a longer distance.  You definitely do make faster headway in a  group But I did OK I think averaging 15.3 mph given the terrain.  If it had been in Bedfordshire, with the flatter roads I think it would have been nearer to 17mph average.  Maybe I’ll give it a try on my next long ride but it gets pretty boring with not a lot of hills.  I suppose I am kind of admitting I like the hills.  I must admit, since I have been out on the club rides I do seem to move up through the group when it comes to the climbs.  I remember a similar thing in my younger days.  When I was racing I used to be dreading the arrival of the hills but I always used to make up plenty of places by the top of the climbs.  I remember my very first road race when I was about 17 ( 50 years ago !!  Wow !!).  It had been 50 miles all around the Chiltern Hills and finished at the top of a climb up to Bledlow Ridge from West Wycombe, a 1 in 4 (25%) climb just outside High Wycombe and I managed to find myself in 6th place