I returned to the saddle in January after a few weeks off to recharge my batteries, but with a 140 mile charity Coast to Coast ride set in the diary for June I knew I would have to do some extra riding to do.
My normal commute means I do over 60 miles a week so all I really needed to do was find a time at the weekend to do a long ride. That ride will need to increase to 60 or 70 miles over the next few months with the workday mileage keeping my legs loose. The time I have chosen for the distance rides has involved setting off before sunrise on either a saturday or sunday morning and it has actually been far more enjoyable than it sounds.
One ride in particular, where I saw first light from the top of Holcombe Hill, will stay with me for the rest of my life, a truely magical moment providing the kind of spiritual lift and re-affirmation I have been seeking in recent times. I have not yet ridden in the rain (though won’t be frightened of it) and you tend to forget that Jan and Feb are pretty dry months. I only ducked out of one weekend ride because of bad weather; it was icy and having fallen off due to ice a few weeks earlier I though t it wasn’t worth risking an injury. Talking of which I missed 2 weekend rides in January because I was knocked off my bike by a Taxi driver on the way to work. I was very lucky it wasn’t more serious and, as I write, I can no longer feel any pain in my left knee. Bike damage was limited to a buckled back wheel and everything was resolved, repaired and refunded within a week. Let’s hope that’s my one accident for the year!
I managed a 36 mile ride around Winter Hill a couple of weeks ago which involved some climbing but nothing like the Pennine and Lake District mountains I will have to tackle, and last weekend I impressed myself with 33 miles in 2.5 hours and came home feeling I could have carried on for another hour. I think I am well on target and just hope and pray I stay fit. After the accident I also suffered back pain which re-occurred after a Valentine’s morning ride (!) because I hadn’t been stretching. I now stretch before and during a long ride and after every ride so I no longer suffer any lower backpain (which I think is due to all the work my hamstrings have been doing).
I did over 300 miles last month and expect to do over 400 during this longer month, it’s hard work but very satisfying afterwards and heightens my enjoyment of any 9am big fat fry-up immediately after returning home.