Finally after a month off and moving house I got out on my bike for a short ride. All of last year I think I felt like I was ‘training’ for something be that the next sportive I’d entered or just to be able to keep up with Tom and Carl ;). But now having dropped out of the Ride Across Britain and with no ‘events’ planned it actually is nice just to go for a ‘ride’ with no plan or feeling I need to be doing something in particular to improve how I ride.
So I set out from home up the Worcester/Birmingham canal following national cycle route 45, what I didn’t realise was that the first couple of miles of my ride were currently being resurfaced and so I probably shouldn’t have been riding them. On the Tricross though I dealt with the bumps and the stony bits and it appeared that people had simply moved aside the barriers/fences that stopped access and progress on the towpath. Being a towpath it’s pretty flat with a slight incline at each lock to power up, these were a bit more interesting where they were paved and had pieces of wood across them as foot holds. A good test of how straight you can ride through the gaps or your bike handling skills if you bump over the inch high blocks, maybe I shouldn’t have pumped my tires up so much before I left!
Soon I got to the end of the towpath that was being resurfaced by the Worcester Warriors Rubgy stadium, and the ride was slightly smoother from here on in. I met a fair few walkers as I was cycling who I cheerfully said hello to but only one other cyclist. Shortly after the stadium I parted ways with the cycle route as it takes a more direct path to Droitwich via the back roads. Then I realised why although the towpath was still a permissible cycle route it wasn’t part of the national network, mud!
I pressed onwards even though my tires were not suited to these conditions and was rewarded with some nice views but when I reached the village of Oddingley I decided that Specialized Borough CX tyres although great to commute on are pretty pants in muddy conditions and rejoined the road. It wasn’t until I was on the road that I actually realised it was pretty cold as I could see my breath, however I can’t tell you the temperature as at this point the battery ran out on my cycle computer. I guess that 3 months sat in a drawer hadn’t been kind to it. Considering I hadn’t really ridden it since the autumn however my bike was running very smoothly and the new Tektro CR720 brakes I had fitted were so much better than the v-brakes and shimano canti’s I’d had before.
By this point I was having lots of fun, I may have been riding on my own but I was dropping imaginary pelotons, chasing down imaginary breakaways and up out of the saddle sprinting up any slope that presented itself in as high a gear as possible. Maybe I should be training for something, although I know that even without my cycle computer to tell me I’m still very slow on a bike but without anyone around to reinforce that fact I can get tremendous enjoyment out of pretending I’m fast! I soon came back onto my old friend cycle route 45 but going in the opposite direction and was back at the Warriors ground.
From here rather than retrace my tracks down the canal I decided to follow the back roads into Worcester, the cold air was starting to hurt my chest a bit although my legs felt fine. The opposite of my normal feeling whilst riding ‘jelly legs’ but fit/energetic up top. After a short detour into Claines, where I came across national cycle route 46 which I followed into town for a bit I arrived back home. 14.25 miles in an hour and a half, a nice slow reunion with my bike but it’s given me a nice warm glow now I’m back inside.
I am really happy that cycling for me has now kicked off in 2010, with no commute to ride at the moment I was really starting to miss being on the bike. This year should be a good one though as I’ve got the ‘gate‘ below to build up when I can scrape together the cash for parts and that should mean a varied year of on and off road riding with probably very few ‘events’, no targets and hopefully lots of fun!