I've done a couple of cracker rides in the last few days. In fact it was the same ride twice. On Sunday Leanne, Steve, Paul, Annick and myself set off for a trip around Old Mount Samson Road and Cedar Creek Road. An early start was the order of the day and we were off by 5.30am to avoid the heat.
I felt really relaxed and well seated on the bike and it showed when we hit the first of the hills for the day. It wasn't that I showed blistering pace or over powering strength but I felt great at the top of each hill and my heart rate was recovering almost instantly. Old Mount Samson Road has become a bit of a favourite for my training loops. It holds a couple of nasty little pinches and some sustained climbs of around 8%. Depending on the direction you ride it you can reach as high as 17% for a short climb around a corner. That really nails you!
Cedar Creek is a whole different proposition. It is a rolling stroll through farms at the start and then into heavily treed gullies and the sound of the creek tumbling over the rocks. I love to pull up at the end of the road and just sit for a moment and take in the peace. Again the gradient doesn't get much over 8% and while a couple of the climbs are sustained they allow you to get into a nice rythm. Of course there is always the descent down the other side to look forward to as a pay off for your hard work.
As with any good ride there has to be that one heartbreaker that makes the headlines of all the war stories. On this ride it is Bunya Road heading home. It starts with a gentle climb over a little spur and then a fast descent into a creek with a one lane bridge. From there it goes up. You climb for what feels like an age and although the gradient stays pretty low for the first couple of rises you are soon faced with the run from Allen Road. There are three pretty steep, long climbs to test the legs after what has already been about 60k's of riding. I put a brave face on for Sunday and gunned it up the hills. Today though it was much more sedate. I felt fine at the end of the climb but really couldn't be bothered with attacking this climb for the second time in three days. I enjoyed it though while chatting to Leanne along the way and before you know it I was at the top. Cool.
While neither of the rides was remarkable they were both very enjoyable. Good company, a great course and the fact that my worst day on a bike is still better than my best day at work made it special. Maybe it's a measure of how lucky I am to ride with the people I ride with and in the places I ride. I think it is.