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A belated report on my riding over the last few days.  To explain the headline, It seems at this time of year there is a certain smell around the countryside.  Due to the farmers, having harvested their crops they then plough up the fields and spread cow manure over the fields before ploughing it in when they plough the fields.

This manure has been in ‘storage’ and fermenting since they turned the cattle back out into the fields in the spring. They regularly clear all the ‘muck’ out of the sheds where the cattle are kept through the winter and store it for fertiliser in the autumn.

Cattlemanure

A steaming pile all ready for spreading!!

It gives the countryside, where I spend a lot of my time cycling, a certain smell  at this time year.  Not only is it in the fields but I frequently see great trailers full of it being hauled around the lanes by enormous tractors, sometimes spilling some their load onto road leaving another hazard to be avoided along with the frequent pot holes to be found on our roads.  However its a totally unpleasant smell, just the smell of the countryside and part of country life.

OK, back to business.  I took a short ride on Friday on my Felt bike on my Ouse Valley route to see if I had cured an ongoing problem with the indexing on my gear changes.  The changes on the rear derailleur were not as smooth as they used to be and sometimes took two clicks to get a proper change , up or down.  I had improved it after a certain amount of tinkering but still not right.  I was fearing that the front STi lever was broken but it is less than a year old.  A bit more messing about after my return home but not a great deal of success but would have to be OK for Team MK club ride on Saturday morning.

It was to be quite a ride, a longer one than normal with the option of an extra loop near to the destination cafe up a hill I remember well from my youth and my early racing days.  The cafe we were going to was the Bluebell Cafe, next to the canal at Marsworth near to Tring in Hertfordshire.  The hill in question is Toms Hill, rising up onto the Chiltern Hills ridge at Aldbury and then down from Ivinghoe Beacon and back to the cafe.

In my youth it was a hill that the local road races took in quite often and usually on a circuit that meant going up it two or three times.  Along with many others along Chiltern escarpment.. Monks Hill, Chinnor Hill, Kingston Blount to name but a few.

If I had done the complete ride it would have amounted to over 80 Miles for the ride including the return trip to the start of the ride from home.  So a few of us opted out of the hill loop and went direct to the cafe and then left and headed for home.  When we left the others till hadn’t arrived.  Another reason for avoiding it was also the problem I was having with my gears, I didn’t want to be putting unnecessary pressure on the gear changes on the climb.

As it turns out my ride was 67 miles so the extra bit would have taken me well over the 80 miles.

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