Feels like my first "proper" ride
So, today I went out for what feels like my first proper (non commuting) ride. An absolutely *gorgeous* day, a bit of a breeze but nothing too evil, and a quiet Sunday afternoon with little to do, so I decided to tackle the slightly hilly route I've been meaning to do for a couple of weeks, but failed for various reasons. It's a 4.2 mile round trip, but with a couple of nasty (at least nasty if you're me) hills to climb. While the distance is no problem, I've not tackled any serious inclines yet...
I started the ride out to the university where I work - it's a nice flatish ride and a decent warm up, and a good place to stop for a bit of water then down towards Tyler Hill. Before I set off while having a drink, I saw an old lady (60-70ish at a guess) on a bike head down the way I was going. As I came round the corner into the biggest downhill, my first thought was 'here we go, now I'm committed' which rapidly turned into 'WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE'. I bottled it at 29.5 mph according to the bike computer and started applying the brakes for the turn at the bottom.
Straight away the climb (about 350m at 8% from my rough calculations) begins, so I dropped into granny gear and started spinning. About half way up I notice that I'm gaining on the actual granny I was following as she's got off to walk. As the hill starts to level off she got back on her bike and disappeared round a corner, so I stop to have a quick rest and drink at the top, out of breath, legs burning and defeated by a granny :)
The ride round to Blean church was pleasant and I picked up a bit more speed as my legs recovered a bit and really started to enjoy the ride. Lovely countryside and at a relative high point between two valleys so good views. The turn onto the Crab and Winkle cyclepath came up remarkably fast, and I made the turn into mile three and the gravel path.
I stopped outside the church for some more water and to take a few photos, then set off again down into the valley again. I granny'ed back up the other side, but did have to stop for a minute to let my legs recover about 2/3 of the way up. As I came to the end of the C&W cycle path about half a mile later, and under a (flat) mile from home I happily realised I could ride further, so added an extra loop to my journey home, bringing the planned 4.2 miles up to 5.1 at an average of 10.0 mph.
A brilliant ride, and I arrived home grinning like an idiot. Added to finding out yesterday that I've managed to lose 5kg I'm feeling pretty good. It's not a huge distance, but for a bloke my size and fitness it feels like a decent acheivement. Most importantly, I can't wait to do it again :)
Route according to the GPS track here: http://spod.cx/bike/2008-05-11.html