Food For The Soul

Sunny SwanageToday has been an unseasonably sunny and warm(ish) day, so what could be better than to get out in the fresh air, challenge yourself to ride to a beautiful destination and burn off a whole bunch of calories? Yesterday was a rest day in my schedule and I ate well in preparation for today. So by 8:30am I was up and preparing myself and the bike for the trip to Swanage.

Setting off at 9:00am it was still pretty chilly, even though I was wearing several layers, but by the time I passed the St. Peter’s Finger pub, I was warming up nicely. I guess that 9:00am is still a little early for most people to be about on a Sunday, so I had the roads pretty much to myself. One thing you do notice on a road bike, with thin and very hard tyres, is just how poor some of our roads have become, and how come they always seem to get rougher when the road starts to climb?

Swanage or BustThe route almost picks itself, out through Upton through Lychett Minster and then onto Sandford road at the A35. I always have a little smile to myself as I pass the Half Way Inn pub, just the child within me I guess.  Now the route is not exactly flat, but it doesn’t really get you standing on the pedals until you reach Corfe Castle. The rise to the castle entrance is quite challenging, there is a side road, with a horse and rider waiting to cross this morning, then a pedestrian crossing and all manner of obstacle that could potentially slow your progress.

Having successfully negotiated all of that, it’s off down East Street, though no sign of Bruce Springsteen today, and off towards Harman’s Cross. As a bit of a closet train spotter, steam trains of course, the joy of crossing the Swanage Steam Railway line, just as a locomotive goes under the bridge, was brilliant. Sadly I didn’t have enough pairs of hands to capture the event on my phone.

You would imagine, that having got over the highest point at the castle, it would be a nice downhill bimble into Swanage, but nothing could be further from the truth. As you can see from the cliffs of the Jurassic Coast, the land along the South coast is a series of folds, and some of those folds are not so gentle at times. But apart from the lumps and bumps, and being chivvied along by a farmer on his tractor, the last few kilometres were pretty uneventful, and I rolled onto the promenade at about 10:20am.

Taking a short rest round by the pier, I took the photo at the top of the post. As you can see, there are a few ‘white horses’ rolling in and it was quite windy down by the sea. Of course, the problem with riding down to the coast, is that you have to ride all the way back home. The good news was that the wind was generally in my favour, which on a bike is a real bonus. So although the energy levels were being tested towards the end, I was back in The Quay before 12 noon. A wonderful way to spend a glorious Sunday morning, and a little secret, chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is a great way to keep your cadence high, whilst remembering to breathe.

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