Sunday 17 April 2011

New Forest Spring MTB Ride

No long distance event at the end of this week. No chance of getting a new bike. And no girlfriend (SJ has gone 'sunning it' in Sri Lanka). However, the week ended with an epic off road mtb adventure.

Training began on Tuesday. I decided to use my off day for cycling some hills. I stuck to local hills and followed the 'Hunting for Hills' ride which Ron created last year. Less than 10 miles into my cycle I stopped to answer my phone - it was SJ calling from abroad, which was nice. A few miles on and I had to stop again because I had punctured - this wasn't so nice. My puncture occurred at the bottom of Cobley hill. After fixing puncture I cycled to the top of hill, then realised I had left my glasses at the foot, so back I turned and climbed that dreaded hill twice! I completed this trek in good time and so decided to add a few more miles towards the end. The additional miles took me from the Green Dragon pub to 'that undulating road' between Alcester and Astwood Bank, which I cycled in both directions (ie to Alcester and back to Astwood Bank). This was a nice trek and I covered just over 50 miles. Later in the day, I teamed up with Ron and Mick (a guy Ron bumped into a couple of weeks back) and we took our mountain bikes out. The basic plan was for Ron and I to show Mick local trails we often cycle. Ron was having trouble with his crank set, indeed his pedal arm fell off on 2 occasions. Luckily, Ron is mechanically minded and ingeniously fixed problem with a scrap of metal he found. We cycled new paths new to me too, which took me through a ford near Alcester and then round the back of Oversley Wood. A great days cycling all round.

Wednesday was spent indoors on my rollers. As part of the plan, I have decided to cycle 1 indoor session each week. Rollers are boring but I figure they help with balance (and I have fallen off my bike so many times). Rollers require a continuous pedal and I try and keep my heart rate above 132 bpm the whole session (Zone 3).

Thursday was a rest day and Friday was a little strange. I had 'won' a free personal trainer session (PT) (courtesy of 'for goodness shakes') and decided to give the chap a ring. I spoke to a guy called Chris and told him I wasn't overly keen on the idea of having PT sessions as cost, motivation and time would be an issue. Chris came over and gave me a consultation and we essentially agreed to 1 PT session per week, lasting for aprox. one and a half hours (girlfriend can come along too if she wishes), all for the cost of £15. I can quit whenever I like, and should I have 10 sessions, then the next 2 will be free. Seemed reasonable to me and decided to give it a go. The PT sessions will concentrate mainly on my core strength (as this is particularly weak) and look at my running too. I was been given a 6 week plan of sit-ups to do (homework) and I was able to perform 51 in my initial test. The plan has developed and now looks like this: 1 x PT session, 1 x run, 1 x rollers session and 1 x night cycle with Ron, Jon, etc each week. Plus as many audax and off road events I can muster within each month. There is no maximum amount of cycling I can do. Following the consultation (the 6 week plan will commence next week), I went out for a run. I ran the Studley stinky route. This run felt strange as neither SJ or Cody were with me.

Saturday was the day of the New Forest Spring MTB Ride - a cycle event organised by Wiggle. The day was beautiful weather wise and the event was well organised. I was a little disappointed with the ride itself, as (compared to more recent events) the hills were few, the miles not many, no single track, no super fast descents and little in the way of technical stuff. I felt I could have got round this course on my old Grifter. However, meeting up with friends was great. 3 of the Lejog 2010 boys were here, - Guy, Chris and Ben Adams plus Ben's brother Matt, who I had not met before.

The event was not dull. Lots of wild creatures were spotted en route. These creatures included wild horses and wild cows! The were seriously 100's of horses strolling around as if they owned Hampshire and would walk across the roads and pavements care free style. As I passed one horse, I couldn't help but slap it's behind - not sure who was more startled, the horse or Guy (following behind me) who was lucky to miss a buckaroo! The cows were care free too, there was just less of them. Cow tipping was not considered an option as these cows had major long horns!
It was nice to meet Matt, he was much like his brother Ben. Awesome hooking up with Ben - had wanted to go out MTBing with him since Lejog 2010 and finally got the chance. Ben was clearly the master at bike tricks, trail hopping and the likes. Had not seen Guy since an audax event in Bristol last year (the last time he had been out on a bike). Guy was still fit and all the gym work he does seems to have paid off nicely. A swim challenge is Guys next major pursuit. Chris was riding his Scott bike today (not his Orange), so we became the Scott boys for the day and kinda rode as a double act. Chris's Scott differed to mine in a major way - his was a cyclo cross bike and was only 1 of 8 such bikes to ride this course. Chris, like myself, was not impressed with this course and feels he needs to do another cyclo cross event that is more challenging before he can say he has really completed such an event. We both got our heart rates going as we had several sprints/races along the way which was fun. Chris and I were pretty much evenly matched. At the end, I sprinted to the finish to cross the line first. I thought Chris was far behind, but he truly sprinted to the finish and got every one's heart rate going as he was nearly squished by 2 cars coming at him in opposing directions! Chris felt he had beat me on the line, I thought not. The official results were ... we both had the exact same time!
All 5 of us successfully completed the event. We were awarded with goody bags upon finishing along with a medal. I think all our times were quite naff and we were awarded with 'bronze' status. A good day was had by all and we all finished with a smile!
During MTB event, I cycled a distance of 37.86 miles, at an average speed of 10.3 mph and a max speed of 27.8 mph.

Weekly totals: Cycled 134 miles; Ran for 30 mins.

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