As you will realise, I am a mountain biker but 3 months ago I got a road bike. Mainly so I could get in the rides midweek on my own, but I have been doing more road work in the last few months than offroading. In fact- it is 6 weeks since the Bianchi last saw mud- or dirt. Today I decided to take the mountain bike out. Only one other rider turned up at my house and as he was on his mountain bike- it was decided. First of all we had a couple of road miles to do before we hit the trail. I kept looking to see if I was in big ring or the brakes were grabbing or a tyre going down. MTB' do not move very well on the road. Hit the first gentle trail and it has a few uphill drags- not really hills but they do get the HR up. This was hard work. The bike may only be 6lbs heavier than the road bike but it was heavy up those slopes. Heart monitor decided to play up with interference from the computer so forget that for the time being. Then we hit the hills. First one up is a 15% for 1 mile. This is not too hard as you do not rush it so stay in a low gear and keep the cadence up. I put myself in granny- and to be honest- I did not need it, but did keep the speed down. Monitor came to life and got the HR to 145 and kept it there. Done about 10 miles by now and I was nearly out of water. so cattle trough time. (My camelback has a leak and the bianchi only takes one bottle. Another 5 miles and the next hill. Filled the bottle at a tap and also drunk a bottle while waiting to get the energy up. Another 1 mile climb but not as steep but a bit more technical. Got to the top and my riding partner went home. He has not been out for a long time and he had to get home. Also time to find another trough- out of water again. Took a diversion here to get some easy singletrack in and enjoyed it so much- went down into the forest to fill the water bottle up again from a tap. From here a nice easy ride across the top of the hills to my favourite cafe down by the coast. Easy?---- I forgot that it is a long drag from sea level to 600ft and over Downs grass that grabs the tyres and holds onto them. Decided not to drink too much from now on- if I could help it as no more taps or troughs on this route. Got to my cafe and had a Cafe laarte. Think I'll go back to capuchino next time. Time to think about the ride. 25 miles so far- 20 of which had been offroad. That offroad hurts. I had to get out of the saddle on several occasions to keep the power in- One trick I have mastered from roading - but my calves were hurting. The strongest muscle in my legs and they knew they had been on a ride. Shoulders- Lot of ache here- you use the shoulders a lot more on rough ground. And finally the brain. I was on a high. It may be easy enough to do 50 miles on a road bike but that 20 miles offroad had challenged my skills- it had kept all of the body to its limit, and the buzz it gave me meant that I nearly had 2 slices of pie to celebrate. as it was it was one pie and one cake.
Only let down was on the way home- 15 miles of road and at one point it is a very narrow country lane. Gaily doing 18mph and I came across a horse box- Why is it that Horse boxes are driven by nervous females that do not know how to drive a truck- even if it is a small one, and why can't they read a map. had to follow it at 10mph for 4 miles along this lane and it kept stopping whenever it met a vehicle coming the other way. This is a bike route so the only vehicles it met were bikes as car drivers have better sense than to travel this lane on a Sunday morning meeting all the cyclists in the middle of the road. Rant over.
Got home and I was well and truly done in. Legs did not work, Butt ache from a saddle I have not sat on for 6 weeks, and a body that was crying out for rest. Only thing is- I do not get this sort of workout from a road ride on the road bike after 50 miles. I also do not enjoy road riding as much. Time to relegate that road bike to midweek and organised road randonnees and keep the fine bike for those special occasions at the weekend.
Edit---That heart rate. I did get the monitor to settle down and as this was my first ride offroad for a while- I tried to keep my HR in the preferred range of 145 to 150. Did not bother about it too much and just rode within my limits but I did note that the HR got up to 163 on one of the hills, but on checking after the ride my Maximum Rate was 173 at some point on the ride. Must have been when I was standing at one point as I did not feel that shattered at any point. Did get the lungs at one point to "No more" and the legs gave out shortly afterwards but normally a 173 is get off the bike and lie down before I fall down time.