For a long time during the Covid crisis I didn’t suffer from any colds, then when we started to mix again I had 2 in quick succession. After more than 6 months I’ve now endured the indignity of a summer cold. It was mild and only lasted for 3 days but I would certainly have exercised at least once in that time. Today was plagued by persistent drizzle during the morning which would surely be enough to wet the trails so I thought that I should stick to the roads. I had another reason to avoid the mud. I’d washed my bike cleaner than it’s been in a long time so set off with a vague plan for a hilly ride in breezy weather.
I rode from home but soon changed my mind about the route. I didn’t know if the tail end of my cold would leave me tired so thought it would be better to use roads with lesser gradients. I chose to ride towards Hoghton Tower, a large country house where it is alleged that in 1617 King James 1st was so enamoured by a loin of beef that he knighted it “Sir Loin”, a name we still use. The unstinting hospitality over just 3 days of Sir Richard De Hoghton apparently bankrupted him and he subsequently spent time in debtors prison. The family still own the property.
The winds swirled around and seemed to change direction at will on the undulating route. A mountain bike is much harder work than a skinny tyred road bike but I enjoyed the constant work, trying to keep the pace up. I’ve sometimes observed that road riding lacks the excitement of pushing the pace on a twisty off road trail but today it was a good option and didn’t lack interest. I’d headed north but on the return south found the wind much more of a challenge. In my imagination I’d be mainly heading downhill on the return but the app. Strava revealed that I reached the high point after 5.7 miles then lost only a net 246 feet over 9.2 more miles. Not only that but there were far more rises and falls later on the route. I kept my pace up, hindered mainly by an uncomfortable saddle. Off road I often get relief because I’m forced to pedal standing up on severe gradients but in my 14.93 miles over 1 hour 16 minutes I was constantly seated. I climbed a total of 865 feet and could certainly feel the effects in my legs afterwards.