Making it just over 60 miles for me in 4 days. This ride definitely involved blood, sweat and tears as well as some great challenges.
Dave and I have a weeks holiday this week and have been really looking forward to getting some rides in and to also look at improving some of my riding skills down hill.
We decided to head over to Leith Hill today with the aim to go over Summer Lightning and practise some bomb holes.
We rode up to Polesden Lacey and took the left turn that climbs up to Ranmore via the stone bridge, by the time we got up to Ranmore I was noticing the impact of being on my second long ride in a few days and the fact that the seat on my hard tail is so much more suited to me, Dave spent a bit of time sorting out my saddle position for me and that seemed to sort out my little problem and I was more comfortable.
I had the same shorts on as Sunday so it seemed strange that I was in “discomfort”. I have ridden my new bike a few times now and not had this problem, however I may want to invest in another saddle the same as my hardtail, I’ll see how my next ride goes.
Out at Ranmore we headed towards High Mediterranean which was just so wonderful to cycle down, the views were fantastic and the wild growing sweet peas growing out of the side banks.
I have never cycled down there before only up, it was a real treat.
At the bottom we met a young lad on his bike with his dog who beckoned to us to look over the wall and into a drive way. In the drive way waddling towards a bush which led to a pond was a mother duck and about 8 little baby ducklings, they were so gorgeous and all waddling in line.
The young boy was really great, he kept his dog out of sight and told me he had watched them walk across the road, into the drive and he was going to go and watch them get into the water, he said that it was the first time he had ever seen that and you could tell it was something special.
I thought to myself “That is one of the many reasons why I like cycling where we do.”
From there we headed up past the Rookery and I recalled many moons ago when Jill and I walked up there. So we were climbing and over on the other side of the hills were about 4 horses on the top with just their silhouette on the horizon, another one of “those moments”.
Dave informed me that we were going up The Rookery climb, I said “Nice” he said “I don’t think you will think so”. OMG! What a climb, I managed the whole lot and Dave was somewhat surprised when I popped out at the top still riding my bike. I could hardly breathe mind you and it took a moment to get my breathing steady but I did it!
Next it was up Wolverns lane (I don’t like narrow) and wedged bewteen holly bushes and barbed wire fencing wasn’t my idea of fun, but neither was the sand which was the alternative, Dave got me to cycle up a narrow bank which I found fine but the rest of it along the ledge had me a bit nervous especially the bit that kind of drops away. Still it was all experience that I wouldn’t have tried this time last year.
From there past the cricket pitch and up to Leith Hill tower, I confess although only 12 miles I was quite tired and my adrenalin level was quite high, when I feel like this I almost feel like I am winded, it’s quite a wierd feeling.
At the top of Leith Hill I enjoyed a much needed cup of tea and a piece of cake, I am not a cake eater normally but I made hasty work on a piece of apple sponge.
Recovered (to a degree) we went down Leith Hil, past the cricket pitch and towards Summer Lightning. Dave was ahead of me and took a left turn up onto the bank, it was quite narrow and something I shy away from but I was determined to give it a shot, up, up I went and just at the peak where I needed just one pedal push to get me up, I am not sure what I did but I think I must have pulled on the brake and the bike halted and the pair of us (bike and I) toppled.
Apart from catching myself quite sharply with the pedal and the seat jarring me in an already troublesome area I was really, really cheesed off. Dave wanted me to go back and try it again but I thought I was too shaken and decided not to (I think that was a wrong choice of mine).
We went down the first part of Summer Lightning which I have done before and love but I didn’t enjoy it as much and felt very wobbly, Dave did the 2nd section and I took a flatter route, we headed down some berms and my confidence was just gone and I felt that I couldn’t do them and found myself really upset, having talked myself down and feeling a failure.
Dave convinced me to walk back along them to the beginning and try again, I tried it and I did it, so he convinced me to do it again but faster and I did and I felt wonderful and it had been easy. I am so thankful he convinced me to do this because the rest of my ride was great and I am convinced if I had stayed as I was it would have ruined the rest of the ride. My lesson to practise something, to give it another shot and overcome not just my fear but the monkey on my shoulder.
So back along Wolverns lane, down a bumpy section before the Rookery climb, down Rookery climb (feeling great doing all the downhill) up Whitedown, down Collarbone, along Badger Run and down past Yew Trees. Back at Polesden I can honestly say I was wiped out, still managing to whip up enough energy to power along back to Crabtree Lane and home.
Arriving home feeling tired, challenged and achieved.
I really want to get fitter and faster, I want to improve on what I can do with bombholes and playground fun and all of that will come with practise and more riding. We now have additional riders, not forgetting the summer months still ahead. So plenty of rides to be had.