Tuesday night ride

Posted: July 27, 2011 in 2011, Rides

 

 

 

 

 

FR7 and back by slowjo61 at Garmin Connect – Details.

Billy no mates once again, I finished work and cooked dinner for the family before setting off on a ride which I believed had little hope of success. I aimed to get to FR7 before 7.00pm in time for the start of the Tuesday night races, take part for a few laps and head home before dark.

At lunchtime I had played about with the handlebar height on Jake the Snake, dropping it by another two spacers. I wanted to see whether there would be a similar effect to that on the Swift. JTS was to be my method of transport for the evening to give me a chance of hitting my target.

A few minutes after setting off comes the first mini climb, over a flyover and into Risby. As climbs go, it is but a blemish on a pimple but it always give me the first indication of how my legs are going to feel. Big ring selected I breezed up and over the A14 without a thought…. not a bad start then. Lackford Lane (downhill) was a bit of a breeze as usual. Once in Lackford I had a choice of routes and given the time constraints (I had about 40 minutes to get to Thetford Forest) I decided on Route 1. Up the sandy climb, right along the fire road then left and straight on until the fire road ran out and I had to hit the tarmac. There was a stiff headwind but this didn’t seem to matter as I made good time, JTS despatching fire road with its usual aplomb. Tarmac mode selected at North Stow, the speed increased until I had to sit at the Elveden lights again. A quick dash up the road saw the start area devoid of life but full of abandoned vans and cars. I was too late!

Drawing into the entrance I noticed that everyone was warming up so I had no excuse now, I’d have to join in. A quick work with Richard to let him know I would only be riding for a couple of laps before heading home (so people didn’t think I had come off) and then to business. This was to be the first test of JTS in a race environment and I really didn’t know how it was going to cope. Singletrack excursions to date had been fun but not taken at any great speed… this was going to be interesting.

I hit the first singletrack section in the leading bunch following a long-ish section of fire road where I decided to sit in. I knew my singletrack speed would be compromised in places so I decided to let the rest of the bunch through and not compromise their fun. Conditions were good with the trails being a touch on the dry side of grippy. The first section of bends and I eased through with no trouble at all, the washing machine was dealt with and I was still in touch and so it continued until the sections so comprehensively ruined by D2D. Speed was scrubbed off in an instant and I had to work really hard to maintain momentum. The bunch were getting away! Out onto fire road and I made up maybe 40 yards to sit on their tails. One or two people who had been drafting me, passed comfortably (my Garmin said I was doing 22.5 mph at the time) before the next singletrack. I worked hard through here and for the rest of the first lap. Conscious that I had a good ride home to come I eased back a fraction to something just bordering on uncomfortable rather than excruciating! Another lap or so and two of the people who had overtaken were in my sights, being reeled in at quite a speed. They were fading while i was feeling every stronger. I had to leave them though as I needed to head for home.

A slight tail wind pushed me along at a good pace as I retraced my earlier steps through the Kings Forest, up Lackford Lane and home. As the ride went on I just began to feel better and better. I could have gone on and on and there was plenty of speed left in the tank too. Just over 32 miles saw me having covered almost 120 (mainly) off road in three sessions since Saturday morning.

JTS then, lower handlebars made an enormous difference, just as they had on the Swift – Result!! The biggest revelation though was the singletrack. The bike flew through the trails and once I had the weight distribution sorted, was just as fast as a mountain bike. Accelerating out of the saddle was different…. the front wheel seemed far more sensitive that a mountain bike and was a little disconcerting at times. Stutter bumps were purgatory but it coped…just. On reflection, it was significantly more fun than doing the same stuff on a mountain bike. The latter will just cope, taking all in its stride, allowing you to concentrate on finer things like line, your opponent etc, the cross bike seems to bring back that feeling of living on the ragged edge of grip and got the adrenaline pumping. A decent cross rider would clean up in this sort of environment but I am not a decent cross rider!

As usual, my general speed is good but I have to get acceleration sorted. Forcing myself through the pain and getting up to speed (plus keeping it there for a few minutes) seems to be my weak point. Must work on it!

So, right now I am feeling good, strong and generally fit – it is about time for something to go wrong as it usually does. An accident, a cold…something! On the other hand, maybe this year it won’t and I can build on this to get to bigger and better things as the year passes!

Tune of the ride:

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