Cycling produces many conundrums. For instance, should I use my touring and heavy Ridgeback Panorama or the svelte super light Scott Addict 10? When pushing up a climb should you use that false flat at the top for recovery or use it to push on the get back the speed lost on the ascent?
I chose the winter protected Panorama even though I was confident that the weather would be good. I had clear blue skis and some frost when I left and headed straight for Titch Hill as I needed a climb as soon as possible to get my heart pounding and the blood flowing in order to warm up my freezing fingers.
I was soon faced with another conundrum. On rounding the last corner before Shaves Wood Lane I saw two cyclists heading north, my direction. Should I continue at my pace or chase them down. Chase, of course! I put the hammer down but didn’t seem to be closing the gap. On the flats I was holding 40kph but still not closing. I soon realised that they must be climbing quicker, much quicker than me. Another decision should I give up as I am gently easing back into some sort of fitness or should I try harder. My body may need an gentler start but cycling is more than just a physical endeavour. It also requires mental strength. I made an even greater effort and by the time we got to the B2116 Henfield Rd I had them a short sprint away.
Just my luck, at the T junction another rider sped by and quite naturally my two targets chased him down. The urge to give up was overwhelming but I had worked so hard it seemed a waste to stop. It took some time and a lot of determination but I eventually caught them but not before they had reeled in and dropped the rider that they were chasing. Locked onto their wheels I should have been able to begin my recovery. However, unlike last autumn when I would only need a few seconds to recharge, following these guys nothing seemed to happen and I was wondering if I would ever get my breath and legs back.
I was then faced with another cycling conundrum. Should I just sit in and wheel suck my way back home or should I take a turn at the front. I spent most of 2013 pulling at the front even if I was out of my class but this is 2014 and I am starting all over again. I finally made the most stupid decision of the day. I took a turn at the front just at the wrong moment. As I over took, the road dropped away and suddenly I was doing 39kph. I couldn’t remember what we were doing on the flat and ended up burying myself until I literally disintegrated. I was used to this feeling but, what was different today was that I watched them ride off and I drifted further back with no hope of catching up.
I am pleased to say that whilst I have lost all of the strength and power of recovery that I enjoyed last year I still had the urge not to give up. Once into Partridge Green I was again back onto their wheels. I assume that they must have eased up for me.
We headed back via the Bostal and aside from that beastly climb I was quite comfortable riding with these courteous and social riders (members of Brighton Mitre). I even managed to ride on the front for a few turns. Thanks guys for letting me tag along even though it brought home to me just how much fitness I have lost since my operation. Of course riding a 13 kgs bike gives me an excuse but I an not going to hide behind that one!
Here’s the ride – no records broken here!!! Thanks to my Garmin Edge 510 I can ride without a plan knowing that lovely wife Janet can follow me with Garmin’s Live Tracker. Check it out on the Garmin link.