Saturday, January 29, 2011

My first road bike ride in some months. There realy isn't anywhere to hide on a road bike. I can get lazy on the mountain bike as it is so familiar but when you get a 10% grade for a couple of K's on a road bike you are just there to haul. And haul I did! I am not unimpressed with the ride as there was just over 1000m of elevation gain and all of the roads I traveled were quite hilly with a few steep pinches of over 12%.
My humble opinion is that road riding is THE best way to get base fitness efficiently. If you throw hills into the mix it really pushes the cardiovascular system. Today I showed myself just how much fitness I have lost and just how hard I will need to work to get back to anything like the level I want. That said, it was a top ride today.
I left home and headed over what has been affectionately dubbed "The Teaser". Settlement Road is not that long or that steep but it really tells you how your day will pan out. If you struggle up Settlement, then any climbs after that will probably suck. Usually I would head up Mount Nebo after doing this climb but today I was keen to try the new road around the back of Coot-tha along Gap Creek Road. My plan then was to head up Waterworks Road and over Simpsons Road and then up Coot-tha.
Training face on..... I look serious don't I.

Once I got there it was a blast down the front side and over to the Western Freeway bike way and around to Mogill Road. That road really sucks. The traffic was pretty ordinary but Gap Creek Road made up for it in spades. It's special cruising along the road in amongst the trees and the traffic calming adds a bit of fun as you rip down the descents. have a drink, spin the legs over and all that is left is the reverse side of Settlement Road. The side from the Gap is twisty with a passing lane for cars which means that they try and fly over the hill with scant regard for cyclists. Most times I just hold my breath and count to ten. It's easier that way.
I even let out a little whoop of joy as I blasted down the other side and up to Samford Road. I was nearly home and I hadn't thrown up! A  cold ginger beer waited for me and some salty chips just topped it off. Yep, I'm happy.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It might be hot, but at least it is really humid......

Well after nearly 2 months of very sporadic riding (and blogging!) I manged to drag my sorry butt out for a mountain bike ride today. It is my lovely wifes birthday today so I had a couple of things to attend to before I was able to sneek out. So as 9:30am ticked over I got on the bike and left for a ride of indeterminate length. The first haul up a bitumen climb let me know this wasn't going to be fast or particularly pleasant. The heat off the road was already intense and after the rain we have had the humidity added a hammer blow right to the back of the head.
Now my fitness has always been a bit at the mercy of my work life and over the past couple of months this has never been more so the case. I have not had time to ride, and even when I have had time it is usually after some huge effort at work that leaves me with no energy. Today really put the fullstop on that sentence. Man I suffered. I took on Camp Mountain as it has been as gauge for me over the last 2 years as to how I am going fitness wise. If i make it up in middle ring on the long side I am going fine and if I don't then it is a sliding scale from there. Today was like pedaling with my tongue. I sat in my lowest gear and turned the pedals at a very uninspiring rate to torture myself to the top. Wow, I have gone to crap. I even felt sick once I got to the top.
I had a few internal battles at the lookout while deciding that I was heading straight home with no further riding for the rest of my life until a gentleman came over and asked if I had ridden up. I won't speculate as to how old he was exactly but I will say he was doing well for fifty. I answered yes and he then asked how often I do the ride up. I said not often enough! It was then that he gave me a fantastic piece of advice. He said "I bet it was hard to get to the top, but I bet it gets easier every time you do it." That's exercise for ya folks. It's starts hard, but it gets easier.
After that little ray of sunshine I decided to not let the day beat me quite so easily. It was still really hot so I wasn't going to go nuts with a monster ride but decided to head down to Bellbied Grove and add another 10k's to my reasonably pathetic effort. The trails down to the Grove haven't seen a lot of use with all  the rain and I got snagged in a dozen or so Golden Orb webs along the way. I had to back track over the steepest pinch on the trail due to a swarm of native bees that I only saw because a guy in his space suit came out and warned me off riding any further. Apparently they were swarming due to the rain and now fine weather. It was quite impressive apart from being a bit scary at first. There were literally clouds of bees.
Bellbird Grove was full of people celebrating Australia Day. The smell of sausages cooking on BBQ's was music to my nose! I cruised through and enjoyed watching the games of football and cricket on any open bit of ground and the sound of people just getting outdoors and having fun. It lasted all the way to the top of the climb out of Bellbird Grove in fact. I turned a corner having been lost in my own little world and there was the main fire road back over to the Macleans Road. Awesome. 3 little humps later and I was flying down the blacktop towards home. Only when I passed my favourite coffee shop and saw that it was open did I slow down and drop in for a brew. Perfect way to finish a ride.
I'll take it as far as a ride goes. Nothing mega or even that satisfying in terms of achievements but at least I didn't turn around at the top of Camp Mountain. Now I have 2 weeks of holidays starting on Friday and I hope to do some more riding, perhaps when it's a bit cooler. We'll see.