A re-acquaintance with the bike

Wow. Monday’s ride was hard! In fact, it was the first ride where I honestly wondered if I would make it all the way around. It didn’t really get any better and now I ache like crazy.

I decided to do a ‘short’ route, so took one bottle of water and a couple of snacks. I started slow and continued that way throughout the ride. This was not about Strava, not about beating any of my PBs or anyone else’s times. It was about me trying to get back on the bike and enjoy being out in the Peak District.

However, I have never felt time move so slowly as I climbed up the A57. I intentionally kept my heart rate below 165 for most of it, and this meant staying in granny gear and sticking to around 12 km/h. I got so bored, and then my knee started to hurt. My lungs and heart felt fine, but my legs were in a whole world of pain. Particularly my right leg and think that this is still the injury I got climbing before our trip to Italy. I tried to ignore it and keep going. The hill was going to have to end and then there was a lovely descent to look forward to.

On the next climb, my lungs decided to join the party and my heart rate hit 181 with very little effort on my part. Simply the gradient of the hill and my general condition made it terrible. I sat back and took my time (again) and tried to enjoy the scenery. The colours of the Peak District are beautiful right now, and the air has that autumnal tang to it (when not masked by diesel/fuel smoke). Eventually, that hill also ended and there was a short rest. My back was so painful by this point, I had to stop for a couple of minutes and get off the bike to stretch it out.

Refreshed, I started out again, and didn’t stop until I got home again. I was beyond tired and my legs were having a good grump on anything remotely hill-like. By the time I got home, I was destroyed.

Saying that, when I did upload my ride to Strava, I had actually set my 2nd best time on a lot of segments. Considering that I hadn’t intended to go out and smash segments, and that I intentionally kept my HR low, this suggests that I did put more effort in than intended. My legs and general brokenness attest to this!

However, as much as I unintentionally suffered my way around the ride, winter is closing in, and there won’t be that many more opportunities to go out in the dry. Instead of focusing on my poor fitness and general condition, I want to end this post with an image of the Peak District bathed in autumnal sunshine. The heather slowly turning colour and dying back. The occasional splashes of green against muted browns, purples, and greys of heather, grass and stone. The smell of the air – a mix of damp, rotting grass and nature combined with the crisp and cool scent of the wind. Finally, the occasional taste of wood and coal smoke in the air from people who have already got their fires on. Yeah, cycling today was actually pretty damn good!

Some stats:

  • Total distance: 40.6 km
  • Average speed: 21.3 km/h
  • Max speed: 56.5 km/h
  • Average power: 103 w
  • Average HR: 161
  • Cadence: 87 RPM