I’m working for the next two days and since gardening is quite physical I didn’t want to be too tired after todays ride. What seems to count most is the length of a ride, more than the intensity so I was happy to do a very active ride today as long as it was short. Basically I repeated my last ride, trying to lap the Healey Nab red route in sub 11 minutes. Today I decided to ride my Whyte JW4 classic MTB rather than the similar PRST4. It may weigh a little more but I was not happy with the lack of braking power and the rather worn transmission of the PRST. Last time, 2 days ago, I went too hard at the long climb and burnt myself out before the end, finishing in 11 minutes 16 seconds.
Today I took it nice and easy from home to the top of the hill at 680 feet. I live at around 300 feet but there are some additional rises and falls on the way. I felt fresh and ready to achieve on of my annual targets. Down to the start and round the right hand bend to the first climb and I made sure I didn’t put too much in. The long downhill section went well, though it’s difficult to estimate just how well you’re doing. Fortunately Strava can tell you!
I was one second quicker yesterday. Consistency is good. On the new jump, which surprised me last time, I had the measure of it. You need to absorb the jump and stay on the ground because if you leave the ground you’ll still be in the air when you need to turn. You have to control any urge to make it look spectacular. After the downhill comes the section of 7 jumps with a big, fast bermed corner in the middle. I took it at full speed. Then on towards the biggest climb. I just made sure I didn’t hurt myself whilst climbing. You can’t keep up an exactly steady effort because the gradient varies considerably and you often need to put extra effort into maintain momentum on the steep parts. I’ve decided to allow a shortcut to be part of the route since elsewhere a fallen tree costs you time but today I came undone on this part. A tree root runs across the top of a short, steep climb and I lost traction, stopping me dead. I must have lost several seconds as I ran and leapt back on the bike.
At this point you need to keep concentrating and not let the speed drop as you continue on the climb plus one significant drop. I was feeling good and passed 2 riders who were waiting at the trail head. I continued down the back section to the finish and clicked my stopwatch. 11 minutes dead! Since Strava had added a second to my stopwatch time 2 days ago I was uncertain whether I’d done enough. If only I hadn’t slipped on that steep section.
I got back to the trail head and chatted to the riders from before and a couple of others who’d arrived. I got home to something of a relief. Strava had my time at 11 minutes 8 seconds, elevating me to eleventh on the all time list. At least I don’t now need to curse myself for my mistake because I don’t imagine I’d lost 8 seconds. The problem is probably just the slight inaccuracy of GPS on a cheap smart phone. I may expect you to do a few extra meters before the app. thinks you’ve finished.
So now I only need to improve by another 9 seconds to reach my target. I find the prospect quite exciting and look forwards to facing the challenge again.