Saturday was a fine day and presented my first opportunity for a bike ride out for the week. Yes, the week was by that stage nearly over, but I had been busy because my children had been staying with me for an extended few days. We had managed some walks, including the Penhallam Manor site that I had decided not to ride up to on my last venture out, some rock pooling at both Port Quin and Crackington Haven and a visit to watch a film at the frankly unbelievably situated and gloriously small and independent Rebel Cinema.
I finally returned them both home, happy and worn out, late on Wednesday night. I always find loads for them to get up to here without resorting to the numerous Theme Parks, I know that they appreciate my way of doing things and how it differs from their other home life.
Thursday was my first cycling opportunity since last Saturday’s little jaunt but I had a job to do, calibrate the Heart Monitor on my computer to find my ‘Functional Threshold Heart Rate’. This meant riding on the trainer in the garage so that my efforts could be at a consistent rate for this painful twenty minute segment of my 45 minute session, I could then accurately set the Heart Rate Zones for my riding efforts thereafter. I hadn’t really worried about the heart rate numbers for my pootling about the countryside but with my need to hit the trainer rather than go out for a ride sometimes it was helpful to be able to structure future workouts based on this known quantity rather than making up something by feel. My thanks go to my friend Simon for the hardware, although my mind wasn’t set on thanking him while doing the test…
So on getting to Saturday again I was still procrastinating about whether I was recovered enough to go out for a ride or it was safer for me to stay inside and do a gentle trainer session. In the end I did, after many false starts and ride-delaying tactics of trying to decide on my choice of routes, get changed, make sure the bike was fettled and head out.
As always I was glad that I had done so and with most of my route being up onto Bodmin Moor on roads that I had covered before I could feel the benefit of a few sessions of both trainer and previous rides. My power up the hills was increased and my reaching for switching down for the lowest gear possible as soon as the terrain got slightly lumpy was much reduced. I went out across the Moors on the NCN3 route, this time going further and getting out to the view over Devils Jump, a granite outcrop in a gorge near St Breward, and past the workings of a china clay mine at Stannon at about 20 kilometres away. When I got back and looked at my route later I found I was only a few hundred metres away from a stone circle on Dinnever Hill at one point, my looking at route possibilities beforehand had apparently not registered this one so I missed it completely this time.
I was pleased to get back after a 42 kilometre ride with some energy left for a change, my pace was gentle with many stops for pictures. There are a couple of climbs which I found a bit wearing and the Davidstow Airfield seems to be positioned well to have full use of the winds coming off the coast but I still feel cycling is still one of the best ways to travel and truly feel the human scale of the environment.
Rides of 70 and 80 kilometres were not uncommon in Devon but while I explore and get familiar with my area most of my riding appears to be short ‘out and back’ routes. Hopefully I’ll be able to recognise different roads as I go on and be able to create the on the go loops I used to be able to do in my old familiar Devon lanes and as always I will cross my fingers that I get a decent run of rides in before another MS hit sends me back to my sofa.