First Ride Of The Year
First Road ride of the year.
Last Friday I decided after studying the weather, that it was finally time to get down off the hook in the garage my beloved Trek. It’s been a long winter this year or maybe it’s that I’m just getting a bit older and can’t cope with the cold and damp quite as easily as I used to. Whichever it is by the time I get to the start of March I am definitely getting itchy feet to get off my winter bike which is a flat bared hybrid and back onto my Trek. I am probably like many other cyclists around the world very much attached to my road bike; by the way I’m sure they are attached to their bikes not mine as that would be a bit weird if they were. Any way as I said it was time to get her down of the hook for a pre-season inspection. I say her but I’ve never really been sure if my bike is a girl or a boy. I digress, once down I could see that it was in need of a spruce up including a seized rear brake.
I spent a very satisfying couple of hours tinkering or fettling if you prefer until she was ready to hit the road. I bought this bike getting on for ten years ago and I really do try and take good care of it. I’m not one for changing stuff every year or having the latest equipment and with luck I shall keep riding it for many years to come.
Saturday morning rolled around and I looked out the window. It was dry and the wind was low, this looked like the day I’d been waiting for, plus I had to factor in that my wife was out all morning and the kids were not around either, a perfect storm of conditions for my first ride of the season. I have in the past gone off on my first ride thinking I was going to blast round without any loss of performance over the Winter months, but experience has taught me that I’m not actually in a time trial and as I mentioned earlier I’m not in my thirties anymore either, far from it in fact. So these days my aim is to get my legs turning slowly, do a few miles at a sedate pace just to reacquaint myself with it. It is a very different machine to my hybrid as you can probably guess, almost half the weight which always takes me by surprise when I get out of the saddle going up a hill to find my back wheel starting to slip if the road is a bit damp.
I have mentioned before in previous blogs that I have a bit of a ritual before going for a ride, I don’t mean sacrificing a goat of a village maiden but more like making sure everything I need is about my person and in good working order. As I prepared myself for the off I found myself getting very nervous, I always do at the start of the year. I think it’s a mixture of excitement and apprehension.
Finally I was ready to go. I switched on my trusty Garmin edge and rolled off the driveway. I had been all of 30 seconds into the ride when I found myself complaining of the cold. I have a bit of an old school in my approach to clothing and I’m not really into base layers etc. I find it all a bit confusing if I’m honest so I go with what I know, a cycling jersey with a long sleeved top over it and a pair of basic Ron Hills on the legs. I knew that once I started breathing hard I would soon warm up so it hopefully wouldn’t be a problem.
I headed out along the very smooth section of road that runs away from the estate where I live and the wind was behind me. Mistake number one was thinking wow, I’ve still got it, only to turn the corner and be hit by a very sharp breeze. However I soon settled down into a slow and steady pace. It was mid-morning so I wanted to get away from the main roads and traffic as quickly as possible and head onto the quiet lanes, this didn’t take long.
I soon got to my first challenge, a set of short steep rises that if you haven’t done much riding over winter will make your heart rate monitor start beeping away. Time to ease off a bit this was no race. I carried on enjoying the sights and sounds of the countryside. I was aware after around 10 miles or so just how much fitness had been lost over the last couple of months. I did have one advantage this year though; my weight which normally goes up about three quarters of a stone hadn’t really done that this year. I was trying to keep a lid on excess food and it had paid off to a degree. I was already half a stone lighter than I was at this time last year. Great news for the power to weight ratio.
I trundled around the lanes, found a few long slow hills and one really long steep one which nearly finished me off before ending up on a nice flat section which I could regain my composure and look cool again (yeh right) before heading home. I got back to my house with a sense of achievement not to mention hunger which was quickly quashed by finding some pickled eggs in a kitchen cupboard.
First ride done, they only get easier from now on so I am looking forward to getting back out there again this weekend. In case you were wondering how far I went, it was a tad over twenty miles, in just over the hour. I was happy enough with that. Nothing fell off my bike and everything seemed to be working well. Now I can start building on that base and hopefully start to get some serious mileage in very soon, I will let you all know how it goes.