Tuesday, August 06, 2013

How lumpy is "lumpy"? 



Today was the first day I've done a real ride since I've been in the UK. Sure there has been a couple of bike "hires" of Boris Bikes through Hyde Park and Regents Park and even a rental of a single-speed in Cambridge, but today brought the possibility of real hills. Oddly those hills didn't materialize until the last few kilometres on the climb back up the hill towards the Old Vicarage B&B in Dolfor. I'm loathe to admit it as the ride was only about 40 KM but I'm feeling it right now. Which is ridiculous but there it is. I have a much longer ride tomorrow to Hay-in-Wye and according to Tim, who is one of the proprietors here, tomorrow's ride is a bit "lumpy" so yes, if you're wondering, I am a little worried about just how lumpy, "lumpy" is. This morning I was fuelled by an amazing breakfast of smoked salmon and eggs and by a great packed lunch. That has been one of the many differences between Wales and London. In London, on my own, I was happy enough to find a Pret a Manger or a decent curry or maybe something comfortably familiar as a Wagamama. Here I get what they offer — but what they offer is pretty amazing. It's as though I accidentally happened upon a foodie oasis in the distant and foreign land. Fresh herbs are fragrant everywhere and the local fare cooked up by a talented chef has been fantastic. Tonight was perfect. After a surprisingly tiring ride we had a super-light soufflė followed by great local rib-eye and roasted vegetables. For dessert, just some homemade ice cream with flavours like chocolate chilli and banana rum or basil. Take that Flavour of India (which was actually okay).

So far I've lucked out on the weather, the food, the hosts and the other guests, a couple from London (and Anchorage, and Scotland and San Francisco). All of the things that can go terribly wrong at a B&B have gone terrifically right. With that kind of luck on my side I have a good feeling that the "lumpiness" of tomorrow's ride will tucker me out perfectly for another great sleep.

The only thing I haven't indulged in since London has been alcohol. Obviously I'm no teetotaller, and I made up a bit of a story as to why I'm avoiding it (even though Adam and Marketa's wine and later Adam's scotch looked so good) — I said it wrecks my sleep patterns; which is true to an extent but my real reason is I simply think I broke my bladder. I keep having to go constantly and alcohol just makes it that much worse. Once I'm back in Toronto I'll have to make an appointment to get the "oil and lube" checked. Maybe it's something and maybe it's nothing but whatever it is, it's causing a whole lot of flushing.

Oh and speaking of a distant and foreign land, I'm getting the distinct feeling Wales and Welsh place names inspired much of Middle Earth. There are certainly Shire-like moments and again, some of the more readable place names sound like they came directly from Lord of the Rings. I've been trying to read The Similarion but it feels a little like an essay on the Old Testament. Long and difficult — much like what I expect my ride to be like tomorrow — with a few lumps thrown in for good measure.

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