09 January 2012

First Ride of 2012

On Saturday afternoon, we took the Overground out to Richmond Park for our first ride of 2012. It was actually our first 'real' (non-commuting) bike ride in about seven weeks, due to all the craziness of Thailand and Christmas, so we didn't have high expectations for performance!

It was a relatively sunny day, and mild for this time of year (the high was 10 degrees C, or 50 F), and the park was absolutely full of cyclists! Everyone must have resolved to cycle more in 2012. Unfortunately, it was rather full of cars as well, so it wasn't the most relaxing of rides.

The first lap around the park went surprisingly well for me,  I struggled up the one major hill, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. The second time around was more challenging--my legs didn't seem to want to put very much effort in!

Starting to struggle up the hills!
The last segment of each lap is a long, gradual uphill with a steeper kick at the very end. This is always disheartening as you watch your speed decrease. So by the end of the second lap I really didn't feel like going through it all over again. The sun was also starting to dip below the trees so the temperature was dropping. Alberto still wanted to get another lap in, so we reached a compromise -- I cycled the 3 minutes back to the train station and had a nice hot tea while he did a final lap and then came to meet me. I ended up with around 30km for the day, and Alberto more like 40. Our average speed was all right at 23kph (14.3mph), but it's clear that my endurance has suffered over the winter!

This was a nice chance to test some of my new cycling gear -- the Pearl Izumi tights I bought worked well. My bum is a little sore today, but I can hardly blame that on the tights after not having been on the bike in ages. It didn't rain, but my waterproof jacket proved to be the right level of warmth for the day, worn with a short sleeved jersey and arm warmers that I pulled down almost as soon as we climbed our first hill. We also wore our new matching jerseys, Christmas gifts from Alberto's parents, which are from the cycling club in Benasque (Spanish Pyrenees), where Alberto's family holidays. Unfortunately this meant that I was wearing three different shades of pink/purple on my upper body (my new Buff being the third) but hey, what can you do.

Showing off our Benasque jerseys on the train home
It will be hard to get longer rides in over the next few weeks, since we only have eight hours of daylight at the moment, but we're looking forward to a 100km Audax on Jan 29th to really whip us into shape!

Sun starting to set as Alberto heads back to the station, 3:00pm.

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