West Stow Extra

Posted: May 13, 2011 in 2011, Rides

A variation on the basic theme, this route takes in some slower sections. One favourite piece of singletrack has turned to dust and is therefore slower than normal but I have to say, 29er wheels made short work of the handicap and I didn’t lose too much speed.

Anyway, hooked up with Richard half way along the infamous Mere Lane and headed back into Fornham (the wind direction helped us make up our minds), along the Drift opposite the church and from there, into the main body of the ride. This was my first ride on the revamped Swift in the company of another rider so I was either going to get a shock, by being dropped unceremoniously, or pleasantly surprised by its’ new found speed. Fortunately it was the latter and from time to time some unexpected strengths started to emerge – climbing for instance. This may sound like a statement of the ‘bleeding obvious’ but the Swift seems only to give of its best if, and only if, you have the fitness to ride it hard. Thus far it seems to punish weakness; feeble riding is rewarded by it giving you a hard time, show it who is master and it seems to come alive. What I haven’t worked out yet is whether this submission works on an incremental basis – will the reward of a lively, more exciting ride become harder to achieve as time goes by? Whatever happens, at the moment it seems to be riding a little like Jake the Snake – it wrests every last ounce of energy out of you then makes you come back for more.

Highlight of the ride has to be the Lackford Lane section. I announced that I was not going to race (as normal) and instead, decided to see how long I could stay with Richard. He made an early break and 2 or 3 bike lengths gap opened up before me. He soon hit a deep sandy section where the 29er just eased through the soft surface and I was on terms again. At times I was tempted to put him under pressure but I know this ‘climb’ has the tendency to make you ride too fast and then spit you out int he last few hundred yards so I rode alongside him. A brief period of respite on his wheel saw mw pop out once again to see how i could get on. By now, the houses were in sight and the tarmac section opened up before us. The pace picked up slightly and as I know Richard’s sprint is better than mine I tucked in and let him do the work. Rounding the last bend I made a break along the inside only to be thwarted by maybe half a wheel.

The last sprint hurt – so much so that my heart rate reached 183bpm, it hasn’t been there for ages…. let’s talk maybe 10 years!

The ride file is here:

Untitled by slowjo61 at Garmin Connect – Details.

29 miles at 15.4 mph average, average HR 150, max 183.

Tune of the ride:


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