Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Marvellous Maiden Voyage

There was to be no putting it off. Helmet polished - sssh, no, stop it. Shoes fastened. Padded pantaloons donned and despite the rain I headed out to ride the Mekk. I didn't want to attempt anything too fancy or lengthy breaking her in - or more aptly, breaking me in. I haven't ridden for years so I picked a circular route taking in one small climb at the front end.

Setting out through the village on a slight incline, I didn't find the going too bad. Geared on the fifty and midway on the rear I got up some speed. Onto the country lanes I kept a steady, if somewhat slow pace and before long it was time to roll out the Barrel - Lane, where things started to slow. Dropping to the thirty-four on the front I soon found myself also dropping through the gears on the rear to the bottom end - ooh er, sounds rude. I managed to avoided the ignominy of hitting the very easiest gearing but I was only one off. It's a hill that gets the blooding pumping to run but riding? It got flipping everything pumping. I was off the seat and breathing like an asthmatic in a field full of combines at harvest time. F*(% me this cycling malarky is bloody hard work!

Over the top things got much easier - and faster - but not overly so. I kept my hand pretty close to the brake as the descent got steep. Then onto the undulating but generally flatter roads I tried to keep the pace up. Well, as up as it was ever going to be for my first time.

Towards the end I found myself pulling up on the pedals almost more than I was pushing down. Seemed funny to be able to 'pull' the pedal with that much force*. It felt odd but seemed to make me go faster with less effort and it happened quite naturally. I shall have to experiment further...

Anyway, buoyed by a successful first skirmish I can already feel that the cycling is going to pay dividends for my fitness. At points I got such a great 'burn'. In the thirty five minutes I was out I got a far better workout than that of the exercise bike. The heart pounded. The lungs close to bursting. Quite marvellous.

As to the stats. I rode 8.5 miles with 750 feet of ascent in 35 minutes, giving me an average speed of just under 15miles an hour. Doesn't sound very good but it's a start upon which to build. From small acorns grow mighty dwarf birch trees...

Today's 8.5 miles with 750 feet ascent

* where the term 'that much force' actually means a bit more force than I would have thought you could pull up with but in the grand scheme of things isn't really very much force at all :-)