I just needed to get out.

Weather and life have got in the way of my mountain biking. OK, I could have ignored the drizzle and damp ground and ridden anyway but I seemed to have a lot to do in the last few days. I used my pedal powered boat 2 days ago and it’s easy to use this as an excuse for not riding. It is a form of training but the specifics of the exercise are different to cycling. I intend to modify my homemade boat to make it more like riding a bike but at the moment it requires more muscle yet doesn’t make me breath any harder than walking. Today I felt like I just needed to get out but in the morning I had to go for a flu vaccination. I’ve never had one before but this year they’re encouraging everyone over 50 years old to get vaccinated. They told me I couldn’t possibly get flu but I might get some mild symptoms and a temperature. I decided to do an easier ride than normal so chose to ride along the canal.

It’s interesting that, although the canal maintains the same level, since I passed no locks, you still accumulate some climbing on the app. Strava. You may only be rising and falling by a foot at a time but this constant up and down is accumulated into a surprising amount. The canal bank was quite busy with walkers and it’s only polite to slow down and thank everyone for moving aside. I still managed to achieve an average of over 12 mph on the mix of rough tarmac and grit with the energy absorbing tyres of an MTB. I’d love to know what I’d manage on a road bike on a smooth road but can’t think of anyone I could borrow such a bike from. I used a short section of trail on my way towards Rod Rock where I’d decided to leave the canal and return home by road. You’d swear that Red Rock was on a hill since by road it’s a high point but clearly the canal is flat so it must be at exactly the same height as the point where I joined the canal from Hogg’s Lane. I climbed to my highest point at 520 feet at Blackrod then had a 220 feet drop over the next 3.7 miles. Early in this section I reached an exhilarating maximum of 38.3 mph.

For me road riding lacks the excitement of off road riding but does allow you to concentrate on your performance. We’re clearly now in autumn so I might have to change my off road routes to avoid worsening trail conditions.

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