Over the last few weeks I have managed to get back to doing some riding that isn’t commuting. This has mostly taken the form of a few Saturday morning pootles, with all of the rides being on the road. What?…well there are a couple of reasons for this. I felt that I was “OK to ride” after my broken rib but I didn’t feel that I really want to push it. Off road riding is so much heavier on the upper body and as I was still hurting I thought it most sensible just get my legs going again but not over do it. I also didn’t want to have any small falls that could possibly effect a recently healed bone.
What I have found surprising is just how much I have enjoyed it. It’s really opened up the idea to me that actually it’s just riding my bike that I enjoy. Whether that’s road, off road, tame bridle way or gnarly rock shoot it really doesn’t matter. As long as I’m pushing the peddles and getting a sweat on then I’m a happy bunny.
I think it’s a great way to get the endurance fitness back. Being able to go out and pound the miles at a continuous effort level is far easier than when riding off road. The effort levels off road, tend to fluctuate greatly as you hit differing terrain such as mud, hardpack, grass etc. Combined with this that your average single track (even in flat places) will have more changes in elevation which again require you to put in that little extra effort now and again. Although over time I think that these fluctuations will give you better all round fitness when you are just trying to get your base fitness back I really couldn’t imagine a better way to do it. Also this kind of continuous effort for hours on end is a great way to lose the few extra pounds you might have put on, over a 6 week enforced lay off during the Christmas period…
Unfortunately this new found love has only fuelled my lust for a road bike. For the last couple of months I have had my eye on a Triban 3 from Decathlon. It’s a relatively cheap road bike that has been getting rave reviews and drawn comparisons with bikes in the £600-700 bracket. At £300 it seems like a bargain and the perfect winter hack bike. Do I really need it? Of course not, having the rigid fork on the P7 and pumping up the tyres to 60psi has given something that is perfectly serviceable on the roads. Clearly I’m not going to win any land speed records but it has allowed me to start getting back to fitness when otherwise I wouldn’t have ridden yet. Does this mean I won’t continue to lust after a road bike? Of course not, and I might just take the plunge at some point but I’m certainly less inclined to now that I’m enjoying it so much on what I already have.
Over the week end I took a spin South of Birmingham with the intention to stop off at The Yew Tree Cafe in Wootton Wawen. It being a fairly cold day I thought the idea of a quick coffee and cake at the midway point would be great. Sadly I was so “in the zone” when I got near that I didn’t even notice and it wasn’t until I was several miles past it that I realised where I was. Not to much of an issue though specially as I’m trying to drop a few pounds so really I should of known better any way.
This route is mostly country lanes with the odd short connecting section on less busy A-roads. There was only one minor surprise and that’s Ride With GPS obviously allows you to map routes using unclassified roads as if they were “normal” roads. I was lucky in that I was on a mountain bike but I really wouldn’t have liked to have done the Preston Fields Lane section on a skinny road bike.
I had been aiming for a average speed of 15mph. For the first 25miles I had been averaging 15.5mph but as I hit the last 15 miles tiredness, a headwind and the light flurries of snow in my face slowed me down to a route average of 14.9mph. Can’t really be to disappointed with 0.1mph off target at this early stage so on the whole I was pretty happy with how I rode on Sunday.