Ten differences that two weeks make

Apparently, Face-Twits are more likely to click on a blog with  numbered lists for some unknown reason, so in honour of them, here is a list of differences between when I cycled the Montferland route (twice) two weeks and one day ago, and today.

1. Temperature
A couple of weeks ago, I made a mistake.  Because it had been quite nice the day before, I foolishly put on summer gloves. It was so cold! Not just the actual temperature, but the wind and rain meant that my hands were so cold that towards the end, I actually had difficulty changing gear as my thumbs wouldn't respond. In contrast, today it was 30 degrees, according to the thermometer in the car, which even if it was exaggerating, means that it was ridiculously hot for April.

2. Wind
There had been a storm the night before, even bringing down a large tree that some foresters were busy clearing as I went past. That also meant that there was quite a lot of wind whilst I cycled. According to the interesting website https://mywindsock.com, all that wind was equivalent to 9 km extra cycling.  I doubt if that website knows how much of the route was sheltered inside the woods, but nevertheless, it was quite a fight at times.  By contrast, today the air was hardly moving.

3. Water
Not content with bringing the wrong gloves, I also made a much more serious mistake two weeks ago.  I did not take enough water.  That meant that it ran out about 3/4 the way along, and in turn that meant that shortly after that the hills all felt twice as steep and I was unbelievably exhausted at the end.  Today I made sure my rucksack's bladder was full to the brim and that I had an extra bottle as well. That made a huge difference, not only did I finish half an hour earlier (though the lack of wind may have helped there), but I still had some energy over at the end.

4. Spring.

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It is amazing what a difference just two weeks can make at this time of the year. Leaves everywhere. Birds in full song everywhere (and either lots of Green Woodpeckers or one that curiously followed me along the whole way). Butterflies everwhere (lots of Clouded Yellow).

5. Dust
It is amazing what a difference just two weeks can make. All the muddy goo has magically turned into dust. Some parts have had gravel added (apparently they not only remove fallen trees for the annual fee for using the trails). The dust does make it quite tricky in parts though, seeing how as dust is not the least slippery substance around. There are also several downhill stretches which have deep ruts running across them, meaning that the bike bounces up and down quite alarmingly, even to the extent of shaking my GPS loose at one stage, and then at the bottom of the downhill stretch, a big pile of dust.

6. Tyres
One other factor in addition to everything above which might help explain why I did it in half an hour faster this time was that I had changed my back tyre from a winter Nobby Nick to a summer Racing Ralph. It really does seem to make a difference.

7 - 10. Still thinking of those points. Here is a pretty photo instead (Stitchwort).


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