London to Southend off-road

37 miles, on bike paths and bridle ways, mostly – no power readings, but average heart rate was 150bpm. 

This was a nice route, winding across country: not particularly technical until we got near the end, where a forest track was a bit steep (down) and bumpy. I ended up walking down, as I wasn’t confident I’d manage the descent without a fall. 

I’d already had one fall earlier, having failed to unclip in time on a tight right hand turn. I’m noticeably more uncertain on tight right turns, so should practice as I suspect the same is true on the road bike. It’s just that road bike routes tend not to involve tight turns. The fall was more embarrassing than anything else, although I discovered quite a bit of bruising when I got home (I seem to have landed thigh-side first, which would also explain why my quad wasn’t too happy in the second half). 

Need to watch the food intake more closely; the ice-cream halfway was nice (was a warm, if cloudy, day) but I really should have eaten slower release stuff. Ran out of glycogen on a hill about three miles from the finish, and had to munch through a fig roll. 

Bike was good – gear issue sorted out by a mechanic at the halfway point. I was right, it was the hanger. Probably got bent when the bike fell a couple of weeks ago when I was closing a farm gate. I need to be more careful! And buy a spare hanger. But this does explain why I couldn’t dial in the indexing on Saturday. 

I’ve planned out a couple more off-road rides, and am looking at MTB skills courses. Off-road is a fun alternative for steady rides, and should work well to build some power as it takes quite a bit more work to push the bike, even on the road. 

Up the South Downs

Time on the bike counts, regardless of bike – so I shoved myself and my hard tail mountain bike up the South Downs Way. The result was quite a bit of walking: not because of the gradient (a 34-42 bottom gear will go up almost anything) but because a millennia or two of water cascading downwards was carved deep ruts into the path and it’s basically impossible to ride up (for me, at any rate). 

So I pushed the bike up, and then cycled down and looped around back. Just under 17 miles at no particular speed but with a lot of exertion. It all counts.