A very hard training ride.

We had 2 glorious days last weekend but Monday was really wet. Today the skies are back to almost cloudless splendour so it was an ideal opportunity for a mountain bike ride. Looking back at my recent rides on the app. Strava I noticed that I haven’t done any tough training rides recently so I determined to redress this today. After such heavy rain my options are somewhat limited so I often choose to ride the man made trails on our nearest hill, Healey Nab. 5 laps would be a significant test.

I rode to the north end of the hill because the closer western approach was bound to be sodden and as soon as I reached the wooded area which tops the hill I was ready to start lap one. The circuit is only composed of one long climb, a flatter segment on top and a long downhill but since I was starting part way up the climb it feels like a climb at the start of the lap and another towards the end. I clicked the stopwatch and started to climb.

I was using an unofficial route to climb to the top because it has recently been topped with gravel so was unlikely to be too muddy. The gravelly surface restricts the spinning wheels and the wet conditions only add to this so I was bound to find the climb hard. For lap one I was making sure I kept the pace down whilst I was fresh so that I could keep the pace more even on subsequent laps. Unfortunately a fallen tree had me having to stop my watch near the end of the lap and navigate around. I would take an earlier, unrideable turn for the remaining 4 laps so my time of 9 minutes 27 seconds was a best estimate. After lap 2 I thought that it may have been rather optimistic. Another 10 seconds might have been a closer guess.

Near the top on lap 2 I was privileged to see 2 roe deer. The second leapt over some vegetation and seemed suspended in the air for a delightful moment, it’s front feet tucked tight to it’s chest. I completed the lap using my modified route in 9 minutes 42 seconds. Lap 3 took just one second longer and I love being so consistent. My breathing had started to increase and built further on the fourth lap climb. My time was again affected, this time by taking a jump and loosing contact with the pedals. I landed on the rear wheel which slammed my lower abdomen into the back of the saddle. Nothing was torn off but I stopped the watch and retrenched my assets for a short time.

I continued to finish in a slightly quicker 9 minutes 38 which could have been helped by a short rest. I was unhindered on the final lap and felt my legs burning toward the top of the ascent. By the final climb I was getting that wobbly feeling of exhaustion and was pleased with 9 minutes 32 seconds. I think I paced it well, maintaining my speed whilst reaching the limit of consistent performance. I am uninjured by my little accident and managed the same jump safely on the last lap before riding steadily home. The first 2 laps felt the hardest and by lap 3 I was in the zone and fully absorbed by the ride. Plus the skies are still bright blue!

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