Thursday, 27 January 2011

Priority Change

Quick switch of priorities today as the urge to carry on my good work from last week was still there. Ride first, then work, as opposed to work, then ride (which always ends up in just one more email, just one more cup of tea, oh look it's too late, too dark, it's too cold, it's dinner time etc and never an actual ride).

Quick two hours on some previously unexplored lanes and an undulating 27 miles. Clawing your way back from total unfitness is never fun, especially not when the temperature noticeably drops a couple of degrees whilst you're out and you can literally see the water freezing over. Still, if I can ride in this, I can ride in anything.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

5 in 5

It seems my motivation to ride just isn't there at the moment. Luckily my dirty habit of organising mountain bike events means every now and again I have to go and ride a bike. The strange thing is, once I'm there and ready to go, I really enjoyed riding and just wanted to ride more.

Wednesday was a short loop around Afan checking out a demo loop for the Demo Series. I don't know why, but Afan is my 'make or break' trail. A number of times now I've been to Afan having not ridden for a few months and thrown myself into this south wales deep end. Every trail starts with a lung busting, rocky climb that's a real shock to the system and on this occasion was followed by a fast, rocky descent. Just the kind of mountain bike kick start I needed. If the light hadn't been fading, I'd probably have done another loop (ahem!)

Thursday was off to Margam Park to recce the British Mountain Bike Series Cross-country race course. If Afan is the deep end, this is a diving pool! Climb after climb interspersed with old school off-camber descents. Ace, but not really what you need after so long off the bike and an increasingly more evident lack of fitness. Still, after a lap and some lunch, I was eager to get back out into the forest and explore some new trails (thanks to trail fairy Gareth Hayes), once more ending the ride at sunset.

Friday was a quick and uninspiring ride around Bedgebury in Kent for another demo route. The less said about that the better but I'll join the increasing government trend of blaming everything on the weather. It was, however, a nice break from the leg burning hills of south wales.

Saturday - Sherwood Pines. One of the perks of officially scouting out routes for events is that you get to meet up with locals to show you off-piste stuff. As a cross-country course Sherwood is as you would expect - fast, tight, twisty singletrack with few features and some 'steep slopes' that make up the tiny amount of ascent the course has. My riding mojo was back after four days of consistent riding and the miles of flowing singletrack were grin-inducing enough to keep me riding most of the afternoon.

Sunday and another trip to Cannock for a lap of the 'Follow the Dog' and 'Monkey Trail' trails. The pedally singletrack was making my thighs burn and I could feel the previous rides in my legs. But Cannock is undulating and fun enough to make you want to keep going to the next downhill section (well usually, when it's not an energy sapping, treacle mud fest!)

5 days, 5 venues, 5 rides, 53 miles, 8 hours (alright, it's not going to break any speed records) and a very good basis for getting back into the habit of riding my bike!

Friday, 7 January 2011

Two in a Row

Not deterred by yesterday's post-ride feeling of dizziness, nausea and as if my legs were about to drop off I decided to give it another go. The rain finally stopped and I squeezed in an hour and a half of the usual road loop. By the end of the ride if felt like the cob webs had blown away and my legs were spinning freely. (The numb backside has almost gone as well, settling in nicely to a trusty, well worn saddle.)

So whilst many of my braver cycling friends are attempting a New year "30 in 30", I've opted for a slightly easier "10 rides in 10 days" approach. I've ridden more in two days than I have in six weeks. A promising start to the year.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

New Year - Again...

So my winter training has started in earnest with a quick 45 minute spin on the rollers. For those of you that don't know what rollers are, it's like a turbo trainer but with the added hilarity of continuous wobbling, a reluctance to remove your hands from the handlebars (even when the sweat in your eyes stings so much you can barely see) and the ever present possibility of falling off the edge and riding straight into the wall in front of you.

Basically it's a balancing act, pedalling a normal bike perched on three belt driven rollers with nothing holding you up; that's if you don't count the various body parts wedged against door frames, the well known 'head leaning on a wall stance' or the even more popular comedy 'elbows out with just the slightest hairs breadth brushing against the wall every now and again' posture. I haven't braved riding in spd pedals yet so I'm still in trainers with an old Bulmers crate as a mounting block. But I am getting the hang of it and at least I'm riding a bike.

And there we have it, once more my resolution for the new year is to ride more, for the fourth year in a row. So my resolution now has an addendum of 'more than last year'. Considering my riding has actually slowly decreased over the last three years, this might be one resolution I manage to keep.