I have found that I have inadvertently allowed my fitness to slip this year so am now determined to reverse the decline. I’m now at an age when I should be playing bowls or ruining a perfectly good walk by enduring a game of golf, but mountain biking is still my greatest sporting passion. Today I decided to ride 5 laps of the purpose built trails on Healey Nab, my nearest hill. Earlier in the year this may well have been a 3 lap excursion but with my new found commitment I rode 5.
2 days ago I walked our dog, Freddie, up the Nab and instead of sauntering gently I walked at a good pace. I could still feel the effects in my legs today but the tiredness soon disappeared as I progressed. I didn’t want to time my laps but rather ride different options of climbs and descents, varying my pace at will. It would not truly be a “fartlek” ride because I was willing to stop to chat to other riders or for any other reason which seemed to demand a halt.
The first climb felt like an effort and the second more so. By lap 3 I’d chatted to some riders at the trail head and was deep in thought about various matters, some MTB related and others not. I barely noticed the climb even though I must have needed to apply considerable effort to overcome the steeper parts and tricky roots and rocks which pepper the trail. Despite recent rain the trail was mainly dry and I was enjoying the many twists and turns. Working harder makes me enjoy the ride more. I can’t believe that I’ve lost a little fitness whilst almost certainly enjoying my riding a little less!
I was still feeling good on my final lap and on the way home started to think of a challenge for next year. How about riding 10 identical laps at a consistent pace? It would take more than 90 minutes and be very intense with around 2,000 feet of ascent. My aim would be to keep the lap times closely aligned and be thoroughly wasted by lap 10. Sounds appealing to me.