One of the reasons that I raced mountain and road bikes was that it was the one sure way of getting a good ride. Recently, however, I have been getting all of my fun on the Tuesday rides. These sessions allow me to do what I did in mountain bike racing and yearn to do I road racing. I can ride to the limit and then push just that bit harder to see just how much extra I can muster. I can enjoy chasing riders and can engage in a lot of jovial banter. I used to try this mountain bike racing. I’d natter on a tortuous climb but my fellow races were never amused!
Thanks to Tuesdays I am fit for racing and yet I am not entering. Why? Apart from the Hove Park Crit or Cyclopark a lot of road races can be uneventful. Yesterday I wanted to use my fitness to try to beat my mountain bike riding nemesis at Wasing, I finished behind him last year. But a mountain bike race involves expense in terms of time and money. I’d have to right the day off, pay £24 to enter and at least £30 for diesel. And all for just over an hour’s riding on a fairly tame course. Only an hour!!
Yesterday I used my Tuesday fitness to enjoy the Downs. I rode the Whyte 29C for only the second time in over a year. What a bike? What a ride? And what weather? I lost some time crashing. The 29C is confidence inspiring but no amount of confidence can save you from hidden posts. I hit the handlebar, banked over, full tilt on single track and there is only one out come. The front wheel isn’t too bent and the body not too bruised.
On my return, and feeling pretty fit and strong, I shared the trail with a guy training for the Great Divide! If you don’t know it, it is a ride from Canada to Mexico along the Rockies. The top guys do it is 22 days riding the equivalent of the South Downs Way: every day! This guy has done it in 26!!! And that is carrying tent and survival gear. It is the ride/race that Jen Hopkins did. Chapeau buddy! And good luck.
Since opening the shop I never cease to be amazed at the fitness and challenges that so many local people have.
Here is the ride. It was supposed to be a South Downs Way blast but I couldn’t resist the lure of the Whiteways singletrack which is in perfect condition.