I’ve got a busy week ahead so needed to make the most of the sunshine today. Unusually it was a major effort to convince myself to go riding even with clear blue skies and sunshine. A week or two of poor sleeping doesn’t half sap your enthusiasm for pretty much everything – including cycling. Ultimately it was the knowledge that if I didn’t go out today I wouldn’t get another chance for a good week. So I finally dragged my sorry behind out the door about midday after getting some work done in the morning.
It really was lovely out there – hardly a breath of wind, bright blue skies and glorious sunshine. It was cold still at about 5 degrees when I left the house and it felt cold in the shade. However in the sunshine, through my winter jacket and thickest Merino base layer – I felt warmth, which is a big moment. It’s the first time this year that I’ve felt the warmth of the sun out on the bike. Lovely.
As for the ride itself, well that was surprisingly pleasant too, weather aside. For once in my life I eased back a bit on the pace, particularly on the hills. And I really didn’t push too hard on the flatter bits either – a moderate pace, rather than a blistering pace. I was tired and last time I rode I hurt my knee – strained it. So I erred on the side of caution and tried to keep my heart rate/general exertion down a bit. Mileage was more important than pace today.
Interestingly, the pace was still good even without pushing. I averaged 27kmh over 58km with just under 600m of climbing. I conserved energy where ever possible and deliberately didn’t attack on the climbs, dropping down onto my granny ring and keeping the cadence and effort comfortable. This was an unusual strategy for me …. but one I think I’m going to do again. It was also a day where I realised again how much I love riding compact cranks – I can just keep my tempo/cadence so much more easily – perhaps simply because I’ve done so many miles on them over the last couple of years. It felt really nice to be back on a compact after quite a bit of riding on a double. Personal preference obviously, but it’s good to work out what just works better for you.
Today’s ride was roughly half of the Puncheur distance and a little under half the climbing. It gave me good confidence that I’ll be able to get round – even though I’ll probably not be fit enough to attempt a gold time. That’s fine though – but time will tell how it actually goes on the day.
In the end it was a really pleasant ride and I’m definitely glad to have forced myself out the door.