Getting out on my bike has unfortunately not been a priority of late… and hence this blog has also taken a back seat. With poor weather, a new job and various other life events taking over, my bike so far this year has done more wall hanging than hill climbing.
It’s the beautiful month of March now though, and with the evenings getting lighter I am determined to get back to it!
My partner and I headed out a couple of weeks ago – a few miles in some early spring sunshine. I was reminded how much enjoyment I get from a ride; the views, the fitness, the outdoors, and that overall satisfied feeling that cycling brings. Sunday just gone really marked the (re-) start though, and what a great ride it was. . .
The sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, so we picked one of our favourite routes and got out there. From the outskirts of Bristol to the picturesque village of Castle Combe, coming back via Badminton, this route showcases the English countryside at it’s finest, and I especially enjoy it for a number of reasons; the views are breathtaking, there are very few main road sections, a good amount of challenging hills – and mostly in the first half, and then long stretches of quiet country road on the way home. The tea and scone stop in Castle Combe is also enjoyable 😉 we are oh so English! And it didn’t hurt that on this particular day the wind was on our side – a slight head wind on the way out, but then a friendly tail wind helping out the legs on the way home.
For anyone who is Bristol based, or looking to visit the West Country at any time – bike in tow – I’ve popped a great link below that provides details of a similar Castle Combe route.
Now, the legs . . . they actually did better than I thought they would. I climbed the hills a little slower, but overall I felt fit, and actually achieved a PB on my average speed; 20.4kmh 🙂 This has me feeling extremely motivated. Increasing my average speed was one of my cycling goals for this year and it’s amazing to have actually achieved this so early on! Now I need to maintain it, and hopefully going forward I can build on it. I’d really like to be able to achieve and maintain an average speed of 24kmh this summer.
I owe this good start to my gym commitment throughout the winter. I’ve been averaging 4/5 sessions a week and train legs at least 3 times a week. It’s a bonus that I enjoy the gym, and to again see how my workouts are contributing to my fitness when on the bike, is very satisfying. My gym sessions have enabled me to get back on my bike and ride from where I left off, rather than having to work back up to that level. I wrote a blog a while back – Gym Vs Cycling – and concluded by saying ‘do both’ . . . I certainly still stand by this!
It wasn’t all good times though, I hit the deck early on, throwing myself into a hedge bedded with stinging nettles – it wasn’t elegant. A car had come round the corner, and so my partner of course had to stop, to avoid going into the back of him I swerved, then panicked, which stupidly resulted in my failing to unclip and toppling into the aforementioned hedge. The stinging nettles were a nice added touch! It’s can’t all be tail winds and PB’s I guess – thus is life!
Here’s to the Spring and Summer ahead, and to many rides, taking me as far and wide as my stocky little legs will pedal me!
For a scrumptious Cream Tea in Castle Combe, visit The Castle Inn Hotel