The initial part of the route of my first long ride in 3 weeks and since (almost) recovering from a bug had to be more thought out compared to my normal Sunday morning ride. Wanting to avoid the Monday morning traffic I wanted to get out onto the quieter country lanes as quick as possible. This meant I would be tackling a few of the climbs nearby that I’d spent the past 2 months deliberately avoiding. I knew that the 2nd base period ‘allowed’ my heart rate to drift up into the next zone and was therefore looking forward to frequenting myself with climbs that I’d soon be using several times a week.
Setting off for the planned 4.5 hr ride and for once the wet roads were a welcome sight, instilling confidence that the past week or so of icy conditions wouldn’t be a concern for me today. Although the initial part of the route took in some of the quieter roads with the odd part of slushy ice still prevalent and snow along the edges.
The aim for the ride was to get to round incident free and without having to take any unnecessary risks. The 1st few ascents were done at a steady pace and the descents with caution. Once through the brickhills road conditions improved, although crossing a bridge that took me across a completely frozen Grand Union canal reminded me not to become complacent. Once through Stoke Hammond the 1st break of the ride gave me the opportunity to fill my cleats with snow and then set off into the fog that lingered until Wing.
Continuing on through Long Marston, Cheddington and then Slapton the early slow pace was beginning to improve, along with the temperature. Turning south in Eaton Bray I was presented with a view of the snow filled Downs, for today I’d be turning east before reaching the infamous Bison hill.
Once into Totternhoe I made the turn for home, moving on to Stanbridge, Eggington, Hockcliffe and the long drag towards Woburn. Still an hour short of my proposed 4.5 hr ride I took a detour to once again take in the Brickhills, then through Woburn Sands towards Cranfield. The 10 mins or so of rain that fell didn’t dampen my spirits of almost reaching the end of what I knew would be a challenging ride following my enforced break from riding.
Reaching home I had a ride time of 4hrs 22mins and felt good for it.
With illness now behind me and my training back on track, I’m still undecided on my 1st event of the year, I’m sure a couple of weeks of consistent training will help the decision.