Ah, two excellent days of riding are now in the books. Two different bikes. Two different types of terrain. Two different effort levels. Two days of reminding myself why I love riding my bike.
Friday was “testing day”. All in all, it went pretty much okay. This was my first time doing such a test outdoors – normally I use the controlled environment of my basement and the Computrainer. But it is a new year with new methodologies. I had originally planned to do the two important efforts on Malakoff Road, but the wind was not in my favor. Well, it was – that was the problem. I find that with a strong tailwind, it is not possible to do intervals. So I changed plans and did my two intervals on Shea Road. Shea is a great road for this – a couple of stop signs, but it is pretty darn flat and not that busy with car traffic.
First up was the five minute maximum effort. Ugh, I hate this one. I started really well and then faded like a heavy rock. Suppose this is what is supposed to happen. But geez, it hurts so much! After a 20 minute recovery ride, it was time for the 20 minute threshold effort. Basically go as hard as I could for 20 minutes. Now this I don’t mind. Turn the brain off, wind up the legs, click through the gears and give it all I’ve got. This went pretty much okay. First threshold and above effort of the season so I knew it wouldn’t be exactly where I wanted/expected. But all in all, a good baseline of measurements.
Good roll home with some fine podcasts to listen to. Thanks to Andrew for the tip on the Velocast podcast. This one is top-notch. Really enjoyed it! This one and the Bicycle Podcast from the Guardian are so far my favorites. Maybe one day, I can be interviewed on these?
Once home, I could tell that I had a pretty solid effort out there. My legs were achy, tired, and immediately full of lactic acid when I walked up the stairs. All good signs of a solid ride. I made sure to eat a decent lunch and get lots of fluids in me to help my recovery.
Today was all about the mountain bike. I must admit, I was a bit nervous about this ride. I hadn’t ridden at Kanata Lakes since 2005. Yes, five years ago. In fact Kanata Lakes was the scene of my last and final mountain bike ride. I crashed hard. One of those crashes were the stem hits you in a compromising place and then the bars go into your ribs and somehow you end up landing on the top tube and scraping your legs on the chainrings. Yep, it was a bad one. I put the mountain bike in the garage and didn’t look at it again until this season. But it is time to get back on the horse.
On the schedule for today – three hours of mountain bike riding. What the coach says – I do. I loaded the trusty mountain bike into the Matrix and with some trepidation made my way to Kanata Lakes. Well, lets just say – I had so much fun. It was awesome. I forgot how refreshing it is to be surrounded by nature. I was a bit tentative at the start but after about 45 minutes, I began to find my courage and was able to test my nerve. Some basic skills came back to me. I remembered some key mantras “look up and ahead”, “keep pedaling”, “easy on the front brake”. I zoomed all over the place. At times I had to get off and walk. I’m not sure of the names of the trails but I did end up crossing the railroad tracks and bombing around on a bunch of trails on that side. At one point I was on Ridgetop (I found out the name of this trail thanks to a friendly guy I met out there) – Ridgetop is a bit beyond me right now, but it is my goal to ride this trail by the end of the season. I ended up riding some trails multiple times and it was encouraging to clean sections that on the first time through I had to dab or get off on.
All this to say, it was a great day on the bike. Sun was shining. There were a few people out but it wasn’t crowded or anything. I think that because the trail system is so vast at Kanata Lakes, you can ride for a good while without seeing anyone. As I was driving home I flashed back to 2003 – when I started riding again. It was the mountain bike that got me back into cycling. I wanted to be outside more and around nature. So I bought a mountain bike, took some lessons, and started riding. I loved it. It was from this that I moved onto road racing and now to cyclo-cross racing. And now here I am, seven years later – back to where it started so I can keep moving forward and achieve my goals. Pretty awesome how things really do come full circle. Can’t wait to see what is next.
As for tomorrow – well, I’m riding out to Almonte so I can catch the end of the famous Almonte-Roubaix race. Best of luck to my pals racing this race, those racing at Mansfield, and the others racing at G.P. Ste. Martine. Pedal hard and keep the rubber side down!