How much action do I need?

I could have ridden my mountain bike over the last few days. especially since the skies have remained resolutely clear and blue. An effect of the good weather has been to tempt my wife and I into the garden instead. We have some hard landscaping to do in the form of installing around 50 paving edges. You might expect that a fairly fit rider would be unaffected by such a task but I must be using my muscles in a way which they are unaccustomed to and it has caused some aching at the top of my legs at the front. Today I worked on the garden for a short time in the morning and after walking the dog chose an unusual, for me at least, bike route.

Dropped into position but still needing to be secured. This is only a fraction of the job.

Concerned that my already tired legs might object to much climbing on the bike I planned a ride along the canal for the first three and a half miles. I’d than make my way to White Coppice with around 400 feet of gentle ascent on the roads before returning to the dirt. After some fairly easy ground I’d climb up the back of Healey Nab for the only off road climb and subsequent descent. This is nothing like my usual riding where I try to pack in as much off road action as possible. This usually means 100 feet of off road ascent and descent per mile of riding, on average. Admittedly I wasn’t looking for a trail skills training session on this occasion but would it be interesting enough to satisfy me?

The canal, being level, means that the work required varies only with the type of surface. The compacted gravel, grit and soil was perfect for seventh gear out of ten. Well, almost. Changing into eighth had the pedals turning too slowly but back down in seventh they were spinning too quickly. This is a problem with 1X10 transmissions, even when off road. I switched between the two not quite right gears until the locks at Johnson’s Hillock where I left the canal after the third of seven locks. There was some climbing on the way to White Coppice but compared to the steeper off road climbing I’m used to it was easy enough.

So far there had been little in the way of excitement in the ride. I’d need something else to add interest, like a time challenge on segments or a whole ride, if this was the only type of riding available to me. I did notice, having not touched a foot on the ground since the start, that the constancy of the effort was giving me a good workout. This pleased me since I’d set out thinking that it wouldn’t be a decent training ride but more just a chance to spin my aching legs. Fortunately I still had a stiffer climb and twisty descent to come.

I’d enjoyed a different type of ride but think that I certainly need more action from my riding in general. I don’t imagine that I’ll ever want to spend much time on a pure road ride and even less on a trainer. As I mentioned above I could add interest with some kind of time challenges on such a ride and I would have liked to have a trainer, briefly, during this rather cold winter. I covered 10.68 miles in an hour and 12 minutes with only 695 feet of ascent and will ride again at the weekend.

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