A welcome (ish) return to training began last week, with a few days at base pace to get the old internal engine a bit better at utilising fat as fuel. It was almost enjoyable as there’s still enough light left after work to actually see some of the countryside I’m riding through, in a couple of weeks time it’ll be pitch black and miserable, but for the next week or two it’ll be all autumnal and pretty, lovely.
Took Friday off work to go and ride a bit further, chose to head out on the cross bike along the roads to Wray, via slaidburn and such places then come back over salter fell for a bit of off road playtime. Wow. The weather had obviously been building itself up for my return to riding and unleashed all sorts of fury on me as i grovelled round the route. Well, i say grovelled, for the first 30 miles I was blown round by a crazy strong wind that saw me beat my fastest ever times (set on the road bike) without getting out of breath. Of course, from the halfway point onwards it was chuffing awful, leaving me grinding along the flat at 14mph with my jaw hanging down near the top tube as I gasped for enough air to keep my legs going.
The off road section was rockier than I remember it and came with it’s own sideways rain that managed to numb my face to the point where I didn’t realise i was dribbling. Still good fun though, the cross bike demanded much more attention to what I was doing and I felt like a proper tough northerner as i battled the elements up on the exposed moors. Or at least I did until i misjudged the depth of an innocuous looking puddle and flung myself over the bars.
Did the same ride again on sunday, this time with far less wind and a fair bit more sun and managed to get round 22minutes quicker than friday, with an average heart rate 1bpm higher. Nice. It would have been 30 minutes quicker but I spent 8mins at the side of the road fettling the brakes after they somehow started rubbing on the tyre, despite nothing moving. Very odd. Lots of other people were out riding on sunday as well, many of whom were on cross bikes…in fact i saw the most cross bikes i’ve ever seen in one day (outside of CX races, obviously). Of the riders some where chatty, some polite, some ignored me completely (and got destroyed up the hills for it, ha!) and some looked positively miserable when they realised I’d caught them up. I avoided the puddle of doom this time though, which more than made up for other people’s misery.
The shimano pedals are far better for riding – much more secure – and, although they’ve developed a tiny bit of play in the bearings, it doesn’t seem to be getting any worse so I’m happy with them.
Sadly my 17,000 mile old diadora chili shoes died while i was removing the old eggbeater cleats* from them to fit the new shimano ones. I’ll miss them, they were uber comfy and put up with everything i threw at them for nearly 3 years without falling apart (until they fell apart…). I’m replacing them with a pair of mid range shimano jobbies that I bet won’t be anywhere near as good
*Another eggbeater problem; they eat the soles of your shoes.