I’m up to 61 miles but I missed the Zoo!!

On Sunday 29th June I set out for my longest ride ever. I was well prepared although quite nervous.
As I cycled along the A418 from Aylesbury towards Wing, the side winds really made it hard to maintain a good speed.
Luckily the hedges were thicker and taller just past Rowsham and the wind wasn’t such an issue.

I managed to remember my route and find my way to Aston About, round past Stewkley and to Wing.

From Wing I rode to Leighton Buzzard and eventually to the Harvester at Hockcliffe (no I didn’t stop for a swift half or a quick snack here !). By now I was really enjoying myself, however I knew my real challenges were fast approaching. I was expecting to get completely lost !

The issue is that I simply didn’t know the roads I was going to be cycling along, being unfamiliar would making my cycle ride harder and much more frustrating.

My mobile GPS app was unable to give me any voice instructions and was a bit annoying.

The other issue that was conspiring against me,was the map I had printed out was too small. Next time (I told myself), I would print a map that had a much larger scale and way more detail.
I navigated through Dunstable and out towards Whipsnade Zoo, which is where I took my first wrong turn.
I headed down the Tring Road which is the B489 when I should have turned left onto the Whipsnade Road which is the B4541.
Simple but easily missed, as the signposts are not really very helpful in places. Any how I whistled down the Tring Road, quickly recognising where I was.
As I approached a crossroads / roundabout with the B4506 Dagnall Road I turned off as I guessed I was off course and heading for a major short cut, unless I changed direction !

I kept on until I reached the A4146, where I headed along towards Hemel Hempstead hoping to pick up my route.
Had I turned off along Potten End Hill I’d have picked up my intended route again and ended up in Berkhampstead.
Instead I didn’t spot this road at all and sailed into Hemel Hempstead and decided to just “make the best of it” by cycling along A4251 to Berkhapstead which was a route I am very familiar with.
I also reasoned that it’d be quicker as I could “just pedal” rather than worry about looking for turnings I wasn’t familiar with.

I queued for the tree cutters who were undertaking some pretty severe tree cutting in Berkhapstead town center and had “stop / go ” signs out.
It was a welcome moments rest and I gathered myself ready to pedal up the Kings Road which is a pretty good hill leading out of Berkhampstead.
I remembered I needed to turn off and get to Shooters Way, at the top of the hill. Much easier said than done.
The turning that my route reckoned I should take had some large bolllards in the way, so once again I altered my route and simply cycled up to the top of the hill and along Shooters way from there.To make a complete pigs-ear of the whole thing I then missed a turning for St Leonards road and ended up in Wigginton.
I knew I was wrong but no mobile broadband signal prevented me from using google maps on my phone, to find out where I should have gone. (duh)

I decided to cut my loses and simply cycle back home. I arrived back home after cycling 61 miles which had proved tough both physically and mentally.
For the first time in training, my knees ached and my legs felt so tired it was incredible.
I guess I’ve still go ta way to go with my training ( and my route planning ) !!

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