Friday, 13 July 2012

Darlington - Hamsterley - Darlington

A rare sunny day and a much-needed bike ride.

Up to Hamsterley by the usual route, but feeling really good on the climbs. Hit the 'old new' trails at Hamsterley (Section 13, Special K, Brain Freeze), then along the Grove Link and found the climb direct to the top of the 'new new' trails (Transmission, Accelerator, Nitrous), and couldn't resist dropping down Section 13 again. All the new stuff is great fun and has held up absolutely brilliantly to all the recent heavy rain; riding at Hamsterley isn't the mudfest it used to be.

I surprised myself with how well I was climbing, as I've not been riding that much recently. Being a few kilos lighter must be helping. It's only 5kg or so, but that makes me about 7% lighter, which must help.

Definitely need to get up to Hamsterley more often; with some early starts, I could do that ride and be home late morning. I need a lot more practice riding off-road before Kielder 100 in a couple of months; climbing fine but slow downhill and my shoulders are sore this morning.

New Camelbak worked well - great to not have to faff about swapping bottles around. With a bottle on the frame, I had best part of four litres of fluid (half apple juice and half water). I think for Kielder I'm going to have to use the dorky tri bag on the frame for eating on the go, as the pack made it hard to reach into jersey pockets. Food was four mini pork pies, eaten roughly one per hour and a handful of chocolate raisins for the ride home. For Kielder, I should be able to steal Trio's tactic of skipping the first water/feed station, and so missing out on the queue and gaining 10 minutes or so, plus a lot of saved overtaking, early on.

Distance: 83km (31km Darlington to Woodland, 20km from Woodland into/round the forest and back again, and 32km back home again)
Surface: Road and off-road
Time: 4:45 (1:42 + 1:38 + 1:25)
Weather: Warm and sunny!
Bike: Inbred SS (with 2.4″ tyres on 32:17)