A short one, with no photos as my camera/phone stayed firmly rooted in my saddle pack as I was wearing my old shorts with non-zip pockets. Tonight was a quick blast up the Malverns with Andy from work as my guide. As much as I like riding on my own especially on the road where I can clear my head and just not think about everyday life or even get lost in a daydream there is nothing off road quite like riding with others to spur you on and push you towards your limits. There were times tonight when I was trying to hang on Andy’s tail charging down through some of the woods on the lower slopes in the gathering gloom of dusk when I was literally just riding by instinct, no time to think and I couldn’t really see what was coming up in the dark of the woods beyond the line taken by the white bike weaving in front of me. It was brilliant, did my first set of steps too (only 3) but bottled the 6 and although I was ‘closer’ I still couldn’t do the switchbacks.
Going uphill and running 1 x 9 and therefore no ‘spinning’ gears I tended to forge ahead, but as Andy hadn’t been out for a few weeks I’m sure some regular riding will have him chasing my heels especially if I make the wrong choice on weight distribution as I did at one point and lost all grip/traction and therefore momentum coming to a dead stop, rather embarrassing. Going down is where I need the practice though but my confidence is increasing, I’m starting to ‘investigate’ where the bite point is on my tyres and how I can use my brakes and weight, although I did nearly skid off the edge of the trail at one point but instincts kicked in and a quick burst of power into the pedals saved it. I was carrying a lot more speed today I think, but I am so much more hesitant and slower on rocky/loose rock terrain than I am in the woods for no reason what so ever! I also need probably to progressively ride steeper and steeper stuff to improve getting my positioning and getting my weight back.
Apparently we did 18km (11 miles) which isn’t bad for a couple of hours blast with some ups and downs…at the end I just wanted to ride longer and more, I didn’t even realise how late it was. I wish we could shut the shop tomorrow and just ride? 🙂