Thursday, 6 May 2010

Head For The Hills

Just 163 miles this week but that is because the bike is currently in dry dock having a new chain fitted because I made an arse of it and I hurt my left knee, so I have ended up having 3 days off when I had just planned 1. The best day was Monday when I decided to have a crack at Northern Rock's Cyclone 'B' route. This is 65 miles and almost 4000' of climbing so I wasn't sure if I could manage it. I drove to Ponteland to avoid the boring flat bit and set out to Ogle, Whalton and up to Netherwitton and Forestburn Gate. There was a very strong NorthEasterly which slowed me down and caused the temperature to be a bit low as well. I was surprised to get to Forestburn Gate and find I had actually averaged over 8mph (it was that windy, not to say hilly). I had to get off at one particularly steep bit which I reckon was a good 20% gradient. I had the wind at my back for a bit and successfully made it up a 12% gradient, albeit at 3mph. The hills continued and every nice downhiller had a long climb back up again. As I turned for Ryal I knew there were 2 stinkers of hills to negotiate. I had to get off for 50 yards up the first but managed the second which I was pleased with. The sheep in the fields gave me some very odd looks as I was shouting encouragement at myself not to give up. Fortunately, it was mostly downhill and flat after that and I was overjoyed to find a coffee shop in Matfen for a well deserved cuppa. My overall average was 9.6 mph in the end and I was actually pretty pleased with that. I checked my rider kit for the trip and there are only 7 days out of 45 where the climbing is greater than I did on that day. The pushing up the hills slowly caused the pulled muscle in my left thigh so I have replaced the front 48 tooth chainring with a 42 which should make pedalling uphill a bit easier and help me maintain some sort of rythym. I get the bike back tomorrow so am looking forward to getting back in the saddle. I am doing a few days work from Sunday to Thursday and will probably be working late so it will be mainly gym work. Boring!!!

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