With the LeJOG team in various parts of the world, a solo ride was on the cards for me on Sunday. My normal solo ride would normally involve the Eaglesham moor at some point but I have a tendency when cycling alone to let my mind switch off up until the point where someone in flip flops and a basket on the front of their bike passes me which only then spurs me back into action. Also, having unfortunately had to work on Saturday, a long day in the saddle wasn’t going to happen. In the end, I opted for a short sharp shock where concentration would be essential, 2 circuits of the Lennoxtown loop which takes in the mighty Tak Ma Doon and Crow Road hills. 26 miles each time round.
However, no matter what preparation is done there is always something forgotten. It’s not like riding a bike as a child, when you jumped on your bike and went. This time I find my Garmin is not charged so no on the road output for me, it might be a good thing, at least I won’t worry about my average.
Last week might have brought out the summer bike with me but it was back on with the winter clothing. As I arrived at Lennoxtown, the temperature gauge on the car was showing 0 degrees!
I load up ‘Map my ride’ on my phone as an alternative to the Garmin but can’t watch while in the saddle, so all I need to worry about is riding.
Off I go, the roads are quiet and it’s a beautiful day all round, no worries about ice on the road even though it’s a low temperature. I am feeling good, don’t know that my heart rate is or speed is but it’s all going well – old school – just riding for fun. Couple of miles before the Tak ma doon, I pop my first gel of the day. Not my usual brand, but it was all they had in Asda but goes down well. I turn into the Tak Ma Doon rood but soon find out it is not the Tak Ma Doon road but the wee side street 5 yards before, the car coming out the junction put me off! So I U turn and up I go up the right one. This is a hill that used to hold a lot of fear, but doing it myself on the new bike it feels ok, possibly because I am not watching the G-train shoot up in front of me and feeling the need to try and catch up. I pass Kilysth golf course, it’s a golf course I have played and my minds starts debating about how I am going to squeeze in any golf this year. Golf and Cycling, the 2 hobbies that require the most time out of the diary. I push on and upwards and stop at the car park at the top, where I usually see the rest of the guys waiting on me but there is not a soul today. I take a picture of the horizon and set off again.
Straight downhill, which is always marred by having to slow down for the ford at the bottom and never being in the right gear when going up the wee hill at the other side.
I push on along the Carron valley, there is a bit of wind coming into the face and I am having to work hard. I pass a farm giving away ‘free manure’ but decide now is not the time to fill up. I had forgotten how bad the road surface was along here, soon to be feature on Sky ‘When road surfaces go bad’. It’s a beautiful scene, no other cyclist at the moment or anyone else. I finish the bit around the loch and start heading downhill to the start of the Crow road. The start of the Crow road is the worst, and there is a break and then it’s bad again but after that it’s ok, steady as she goes. When you see the fir tree with the Christmas decorations you know the worst is over and you can start to look forward to the downhill. I am starting to see some cyclists now coming up as I am going down, it’s hard to acknowledge when you are going fast but I do my best. I normally like to check out their bikes as well, but it’s time to concentrate, there is a big bend coming up, not sure I want to hit the ramblers in the car park. I get down without incident and have a quick stop at the car. A Nakd bar and a check of the phone, battery has went from 42% to 13% running map my ride, it’s not going to make round 2.
Off again, and I think a bit more effort is required. It’s only 09:30 so things are still pretty quiet. Newspapers and rolls are being bought for Sunday breakfast as I leave Lennoxtown. It’s fairly flat so I try and push a big gear. Nothing much of incident on the way to the Tak Ma Doon round 2, lots of thoughts in my head but have not fallen asleep at the wheel yet. I hit the Tak Ma Doon again, and I think I can feel it slightly more in the legs, possibly because I pushed harder on the flat. Up past the golf course, and it’s looking busy now, more debate in the head. I do love golf, and with the Masters starting this week, that feeling is sure to grow. Might have to start getting up at 5 rather than 6 every morning to squeeze in enough cycling for LeJog. Up at the top, I stop again and gaze at the slightly changing horizon, the sheep have woken up and are eating their breakfast, not too exciting by the looks of it, bit like some of the smoothies I have taken to drinking in the quest for cycling domination.
So, it’s back down the other side and as I join the main road, a couple of cyclists are going by and I come in behind for a rest, but they are chatting so the pace is not good. I go past them, but think I go off too fast but it’s no time now to slow down and face the embarrassment of them passing me again. I give myself a good few minutes before I look back and luckily I can’t see them. Back along the loch again and things are starting to liven up, I can see a couple of small boats with fisherman with rods looking for a bite. I pass another couple of cyclists, although I think one is a tourer and the other guy is just having a chat with him. I say my ‘hello’s’ and move on, swiftly again. I pop another gel before the Crow Road again and then I see the sign for Lennoxtown as I turn onto the road, 7 miles. In reality is 3 miles up and then relax, not too bad when you put it like that. Up ahead, I spot a couple of cyclists up the hill a bit and set myself the task of getting up to them. This would be an unknown phenomena for me but I see them standing quite a lot as they go so up think they might be struggling. It’s a good goal to have and I feel myself gaining on them, I get the feeling that comes when you have worked hard for a while and things start to click. I go by the first cyclist and then have a quick chat with the second, I get the feeling he is not pushing as hard as he could to support his friend but nevertheless an overtake is an overtake and off I go. I am flying now and looking forward to the last stretch down to the car. There is a bit of wind in the face, but it feels good to push the pedals downhill fast on the smooth road. As I enter Lennoxtown, the temporary lights change to green and straight through I go, down to the car.
It’s 11:30 and 52 miles are done. I put the powder in my spare bottle for my recovery shake, my loss % is only 5%, down 8% from last week and drink it down. Bike on the car, radio 5 live on and off home. Arrive shortly after 12 and next up is the park, to the climbing frame with the wee man who is looking like the new Chris Bonnigton. Go up Again? Ok Again 🙂