Flat is Dull

I seem to have broken my resolve to post regularly on here after my weekly rides. I blame the weather. I had a few weekends riding was awful. Either didn’t get out or it was the worst day I’ve ever had on a bike.

The Big Red Ride run by Mansfield Road Club is a popular event with the club I ride with, so I was talked into doing it. The ride itself is a 100km flat ride round north Nottinghamshire. Not really my thing. But it was a chance, with ride in to the start and home again after, to get a 100 mile ride in to early in the year, and ride with my friends in the club.

Of course then it rained, there was wind, and the temperature (excluding wind chill) was barely over freezing. 4 degrees. urgh.

I got dropped accidentally due to a largish group, traffic and a nasty headwind and spent a while solo before matching up with some other riders from the club at a slower pace. I rode on the front of that group mostly, in the wind, in the rain. Freezing cold. No hills to warm me. It was miserable.

I got back to the start, caught up with my friends. Had a coffee and cake before riding off home. Andrew was kind enough to wait for me and make sure I was ok riding most of the way home. I was ok. Just miserable. The cake got me moving again. I’d not been able to eat as my hands were too cold to change gear, let alone fumble food out of my jersey, open it and eat.

Swore off flat rides after that.

In revenge, I took a group out to ride my route titled Evil. I get a lot of stick for being a sadist and only plotting evil hilly rides. I originally put Evil together as a joke. It was 50 miles with 7,500 feet of climb. Very vicious. But then we decided it had to be ridden. Some Martins (three), Jon and I rode it last year and I had a brilliant time. It felt great. The route went out through The Strines to take on Pearoyd Lane, one of the Hundred Greatest Climbs. The Strines is just beautiful. Pearoyd is tough but rewarding.

So we did it again this year, tweaked slightly to allow a cafe stop. We had a bigger group, which I thought was great, seeing my enthusiasm for hills spreading to more riders, some of whom used to loathe hilly rides.

Again I loved it. The fact it was 10 degrees, not 4, and the sun came out and the rain stayed away helped. But hills are just so satisfying.

Got home, sorted out my ride and saw that on the Hundred Greatest leaderboard I’m in the top 10% sitting at four hundred and something out of over four thousand riders.

That’s got me buzzing to get more of the 100 ticked off, and get some better times on segments I’ve done before.

But this weekend, I’ve got to go do a flat ride, because of a club event 🙁

New Hills – Nearly Always a Good Thing

Today, we arranged a group ride outside the club, to go a bit earlier and a bit further and a bit hillier than a regular club ride, with the group of us that rode TOTH and will be riding Shropshire. We had a few people who couldn’t make it, but it was a good group to get together.

I’d plotted a route that took us into The Peak a route I rarely go, plus along a couple of new roads I’d never tried. There aren’t many of them and even less that go up hill. But one of these looked like a good hill.

Of course, I’d been a bit rushed in the week and hadn’t checked streetview to see if it was a proper road.

It did have Tarmac all the way along it, and mostly you could avoid the potholes. But it may have been a bit muddier than is sensible to ride. But we got through it, and up it. Most of us missed the main segments due to a puncture we all stopped to encourage. But it was a nice steep hill. One I’ll plan to re-visit after a good long dry spell in the summer maybe…

We also hit a few more hills I like to climb. Stanton in the Peak is a nice little climb. Steep to start, with a nice extended finish. Froggatt is a good long persistent climb, as is Long Rake.

It was a great ride, brilliant atmosphere riding with that group as always. I think I need new front brake pads now though…