Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Increasing the mileage.

Well the Eden Valley Sportive went well - got round in just over four hours (3:45 moving time) and managed to avoid most of the rain. The roads were very dirty and by the end my drivetrain sounded like it was made of sandpaper. Pretty much all of the roads were completely new to me, I'd certainly not cycled on them before and probably only driven about 3 miles of the route.

On the plus side: it was my longest ride to date after my op and I didn't feel tired or cramp up towards the end. On the down side: a lot of riders didn't have mudguards so many people looked like they had been doing a mountain bike event and there were a lot of gel wrappers littering the course - if you've room to carry a full sachet you've room to carry an empty one.

Midweek saw me doing a couple of rides including a TT type route that was set up last year as a means of club members benchmarking their performances. Note that it isn't actually a recognised TT route/course as it's some weird distance. My previous time on this was 1hr6mins and I did it in 1hr10mins so a little slower but it was at night and on the previous occasion I had some other riders to aim for. That time was also midsummer rather than early spring so I'd quite a few miles in my legs. I would have been very surprised if I'd beaten it.

Come Saturday and I felt like doing a longer ride and since the wind was from the south west I headed that way so that I'd at least get a tail wind on the way home. As I was heading out of Waddington near Clitheroe there was a couple of shouts of "Bob!" it was Rick and Ian who we'd gone to Majorca with last year. After a bit of a chat, useful to get my breath back after the headwind, I carried on and eventually pulled up at the cafe in Dunsop Bridge, the village closest to the geographical centre of the UK. Somehow even with a tailwind I didn't seem to make good time on the way back, ah well. There were also very few cyclists about and I only saw one until I got to Gargrave when the next three were people I knew. All that was left was the climb up home which felt rather tiring but with 110 km done it was 15Km further than the previous weekend.

I wasn't sure whether to go out on Sunday as I was feeling pretty tired, but thought I'd see how it would go. I'd not ridden with the club for a while, partly due to getting my fitness back and partly down to nerves about riding in a group. The plan was to ride up to Ribblehead and back. One thing I've noticed is that my legs don't have that "zip" at the moment but I'm not too bad on the flat. Going with the 'A' ride should help sort things out. We got to Airton at a fair pace but I was a bit slower on the long climb over to Settle. I'd never ridden up the dale to Ribblehead, it's not too bad apart from my personal bete noire of the short climb after Stainforth.

It's when we turn at Ribblehead that we really notice the wind. Fortunately Andy and The Herb take up most of the front duties but even so it's hard work. A cafe stop at Clapham then back roads weaving in and around the A65 as far as Bell Busk where I headed back home via Gargrave while the others continued to Skipton. The final hill felt even harder than Saturday but I had now got a further 116Km in my legs.

Really quite a tiring weekend!

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