I mounted a couple of lights onto ‘Candy’ my new Cannondale F5 mountain bike and took her out for a first spin very early on Sunday morning. I had expected the wider, treaded, wheels to provide more resistance and therefore slow me down but as I had deliberately avoided putting a trip computer on her I had no way of knowing how quickly I was progressing. I had measured out the route I was to take and since the 45 mile route took me 3 hours 15 minutes I still travelled at a pace I had done for previous rides on racey ‘Tracey’ Trek. 12 miles of this route was off road on a mixture of gravel and hard mud so it was no wonder I ached afterwards and still do slightly now. I might also have been sat in a slightly different position and the saddle was definately much harder than I was used to, maybe I should have done half that distance for a first ride?
Anyway, progress was swift as I headed across Manchester to join the Trans Pennine Trail at Chorlton which took under 40 minutes. The trail to the west followed the course of the Mersey before heading south skirting past Sale and Altrincham. It then turned westwards again and I picked up a former railway which took me 6 or 7 miles in a straight line parallel to the Manchester Ship Canal. There aren’t too many points at which you can cross the Ship Canal and I was concerned about the soft rear tyre as I had chosen to travel light and left spare inner tubes at home. I was paranoid for about 10 miles particularly as I approached the furthest point from home but as it turned out the tyre just hadn’t been inflated properly (I forgot to check before setting off) and only had 45 PSI in it rather than 80. So fully inflated I could have gone even quicker! (or not had to work so hard). I joined the roads again at Thelwall and then crossed the ship canal and headed home along the A57 through Cadishead and Irlam. I started to struggle along this section but I think the issue was bordom rather than the infamous ‘bonk‘. I was more professionally fuelled this weekend with SIS Go rather than my home-made isotonic Vimto, although I still took Jelly Babies to give my mouth something to do.
Saddle aside the bike was great, the close ratio of the gears was welcome although obviously I had a lot less available at the top end than I was used to. The shifters also go in the opposite direction to the Trek but that only caught me out a couple of times. The feel of the gear shift was different with only a slight movement being necessary and I double shifted a few times when I only wanted to drop a single cog. I’m very pleased with my purchase and hope to test it (oh and myself too) with breakfast on the other side of the Peninnes this Friday. Wish me luck, I think it’s going to rain!