Yesterday, I had a half day at work so decided to ride in on my Mekk in order to go for a nice long(ish) ride over Portsdown Hill and around the South Downs as I hadn’t had a chance to really enjoy the bike since getting it .
I made sure I had my sunglasses with the mirrored lenses fitted – an attempt at tricking the weather into forgetting it was supposed to be dreadful – but alas, my plan failed and as I rolled away from work I was wearing waterproofs and had reverted back to the clear lenses.
Almost immediately I hit the first Cat 4 climb of the day, possibly a little too hard as about 15 minutes later on a far easier climb I started getting cramping in my calf muscles. Cramp in your calf muscles is bad at the best of times, let alone when you are halfway up a climb.
I managed to stretch both calfs out enough to keep the worst of the cramps at bay and carried on with my adventure.
I set off in search of a little village called Hambledon, as I knew there was some pretty bad flooding going on there, and I’d never actually seen a flood (Sounds stupid, I know.).
I don’t know what I was expecting, but about 200 meters outside of Hambledon I ended up cycling through 2 foot of what I believe to be ‘surface water’ flowing across the road. I ended up halfway across the 20-25 meter stretch of flood water and my whole feet were plunged completely under with every pedal stroke and no choice but to keep plowing through.
This didn’t bode well for what was to come.
Shortly after this, I found Hambledon and it was exactly as you would imagine. Fairly deep flood water flowing quickly down the entire center of the road, pavements and even peoples gardens. As tempted as I was to go through it, I knew there was a turning before the water I’d been through already and I could pick out a different route that would save me getting very wet again.
I carried on through some of the beautiful countryside the South Downs has to offer and took a few pics on a short stop to get my bearings on Strava, and work out how best to avoid more flood water on the way back.
Turns out, I needn’t have bothered trying to avoid it because I ended up at the top end of the street which was badly flooded and was basically a river of water, around 1 – 1.5 foot deep with a road for a river bed. I decided turning back again was far too much hassle, so I cruised down the flooded street, back through the deeper flood water I first went through, back up and over Portsdown Hill and home again.
It might not have been the longest ride ever at 30 miles, but it’s the longest I’ve ridden in months, the longest I’ve done on my Mekk and I enjoyed every minute of it!
After all, it’s not every day you ride through a flood with cramped calfs!
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