Night ride around West Stow

Posted: March 9, 2011 in 2011, Rides

Last night Rich and I were due for a night ride. We hooked up with some of the guys from Timber (Pete, Ash and Rich – RichP from now on) as part of the Timber Training Event series.

On the domestic front, it was my turn to cook the dinner so as soon as I finished work I started cooking. Luckily it was a fairly simple meal and I could get it sorted and in the oven within 30 minutes. A lot of bike prep etc had been done at lunchtime so I was good to go, more or less on time. I did need a cup of tea though and that meant I left a few minutes later than planned. My gentle warm up turned into a headlong dash to the start. Luckily it is all downhill and the off road sections were firm so I flew. A mad dash along the road to the start saw a car park with twinkling lights floating around so it was either fairies or everyone was waiting. As it happened, I arrived at 28 minutes past 6, 2 minutes early! A short wait for Rich who had also ridden out and we were ready to start. The group was a nice size (five riders) and so we headed out.

A short section of road was followed by a climb, a short descent and another climb – nothing too tough particularly as I was well warmed up 😉 and then, once we hit operating height we could move up to cruising speed. This section of the ride is predominantly undulating fire road; it was firm and therefore quite fast. The pace was brisk but we weren’t pushing it too hard (Rich P said we were cruising at 16 or 17mph, only dropping to 14s when we stopped pedalling to get round obstacles etc). A brief stop at the juncture between forest and bridleway and we moved off again. This section is often tough, not because the terrain is difficult but because it just keeps on going up – it isn’t steep so it tempts you to go faster and faster and often (if you aren’t careful) it will beat you into a sweaty heap. Anyway, on this occasion it was fine and we were able to push on until we hit the road.

A few miles of back road were followed by some more bridleway action and as we popped out into Fornham St Genevieve, the Woolpack looked quite tempting but we manfully resisted temptation and headed on. Rich P announced he would have to break off here and go home; I had planned to head off towards Westley but a brief discussion saw us following Rich towards Culford. We didn’t catch him – Ash was setting a nice pace up the hill but it was too fast for those not sucking a wheel and we had to sit up. From Culford, we dipped back into the Kings Forest and rode some of the trails around the fringes to get back to the cars.

Rich and I left Pete and Ash in the car park and headed home as the wind picked up and the temperature dipped. by the time Lackford Lane was despatched it was getting pretty chilly and my final climb home saw the cold seeping into my bones. I was glad to deposit the bike in the shed and head into the house for a nice warm shower and a huge plate of pasta bake.

Ride stats were as follows:

Distance : 32.62 miles
Time: 2 hours 21 mins
Average speed: 13.8mph (including stops)
Average speed: 14.00 (excluding stops)
Max speed: 24.1 mph
Average HR: 142
Max HR: 169

Comments – the last set of adjustments on my shocks seem to have paid dividends. I had put a few more lbs air pressure into the rear shock, put the pro pedal on full and changed the rebound setting a click. What a revelation – it felt like a hard tail until I needed some squish, when the suspension kicked in. Awesome.

After so long feeling pants on the bike, it was nice to see signs of life in my legs at last. Maybe all the graft is beginning to pay off – as long as no one mentions the word ‘race’ I ‘ll be ok!

Tune of the ride:

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