As planned, I’ve started to “enhance” my morning road rides by re-fitting the knobbly cyclocross tyres to the Uncle John. I’ve been getting used to the low rolling resistance and ability to accelerate hard with the Michelin race tyres I’ve been using since the spring so the Maxxis Locusts I’ve now fitted make it feel like the anchor’s been dropped. It must have been getting too easy.
Anyway, I’m doing the same 8 mile climb as usual, sometimes in a lower gear but then when I get up to Ramsbottom it gets much more interesting. Up the road towards Holcombe Brook, then double back onto the cobbles (ouch) then up the bridleway that skirts around the bottom of Holcombe Hill. Shoulder the bike, over the stile, and then run straight up the rutted, rocky track to the summit. Over the top stile and then descend the main bridleway down to the road.
This is more like it! I’m glad I got those cycling shoes with studs in the toes off Ebay the other day as they certainly helped on the steep run up the hill. Descending off road on this thing will take some getting used to, mind. I guess I’ll get faster over the next few weeks as my confidence improves. Either that or I’ll start to close my eyes and pray.
It’s traditional for me to occasionally take part in a fell race having done hardly any running in training recently. This time was no exception. It’s not like I think training is for gayers, or anything – I just hardly ever get around to going for a run when the focus is always cycling, cycling, cycling.
It was bloody freezing last night. And Windy. And raining. Oh well, it all adds to the fun. Deb and Rachael came over (or dragged over, depends on who you ask) to show their support and have a change of scenery. Good job Deb “acquired” a big golf brolly some years ago.
What struck me about this race was how much of it was narrow – too narrow to get past the slow bugger in front most of the time. What also struck me is how much climbing can be fitted into a relatively short distance (3.5 miles or summat)! On the ascent of Aggies Staircase itself I was reduced to walking in parts due to the fact that the race had turned into a patient queue. I remember thinking “Please don’t fart, mate”, when I had my head almost up this bloke’s bum. He kept walking up the hill and when it widened out a bit, he’d run for a few strides. Gnnnnarrrgh! The guy that finished one position ahead of me appeared to be a local judging by the number of spectators letting on to him (there weren’t many on the moors though). I must have overtook him 3 or 4 times only for him to return the favour. A good old scrap really. He pulled away on the last descent though.
I did feel quite good last night, especially on the descents. I finished 46th out of 88 which in reality is pantaloons…but there’s not much time separating the faster lads with us middle-of-the-group lot 😉
I’m definitely going to do more of this when time is more limited later this year and through the winter – if nothing else to maintain fitness when baby #2 arrives, when I’m unable to ride quite as often.