Big Sunday Rides

Over the past few weeks my habit has been to my habit to ride to Dickson for a coffee via Mulligan’s Flat. My journey home has been a bit random. On occasion I’ve returned home as directly as possible, but generally I try to find an interesting path.
Because of the new saddle and grips, I was feeling much better. Contrary to my earlier pronouncement, my hands aren’t completely numb-free, my thumbs were also a bit numb… “A little numb some more” might be a better title. However, there is a marked improvement in recovery of feeling. And I took two fairly tough rides on Sunday totalling 50km, so some price must be paid.

Here’s the out journey.  (I can’t embed MapMyRide or Google Earth 3D code in so you’ll have to click the link instead.)

I was proud of my out journey as it was the first time I haven’t used the “granny” ring.  Even on the steep climbs into Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve and Horse Park Drive to the Federal Highway were in the middle chain ring.  I climbed the Mulligan’s Flat course in 2:02.  I’d hoped for under 2 minutes, but that’s still a 2nd place effort.

I’d stopped a few times when I climbed through gates to raise the saddle and make little adjustments to the grips.  Every grip adjustment meant adjusting the brake and gear levers too.

And here’s one for the lap of My Ainslie.

At Good Brother cafe I found that my right grip was not fully inserted so the clamp was not gripping the bar.  A quick adjustment and I was away with a grip and bar-end that would not move.

I was feeling good in the saddle so I went straight up the path, a 1.2km (approx) climb with about 45m gain for a average 3.75% grade.  Yes, this was on the granny ring.  I slowly and surely made it to the top (661m) before the steep and a bit tricky descent.  To deflect run-off, large channels have been cut across the fire trail.  While these stop rain water from eroding and gouging, they are a big and steep-sided bump to negotiate.  Heading South along Telecom Road, the path was straight with fairly steep and long undulations.  But I wanted to head North so I took a

turn off towards the Campbell Offices of the Department of Defence.  I was looking for a way through the Mt Majura foothills, but the signs warning of unexploded ordnance and a nice security guard told me there were no short cuts.

I rejoined the equestrian trail and after a loop or two got back onto what became the track to circumnavigate Mt Ainslie.  This is a nice path to the back of houses in Campbell, the Australian War Memorial and Ainslie.

I completed the lap at followed the same climb for a short distance before turning North for home.  The track markers for the Capital Punishment MTB race the day before were still on the track.  Brief stop to lube the chain and remove a tiny twig that was causing the chain to jump and I was ready for the Watson cross-country scramble, apparently reaching 52km/h at one point.

The Federal Highway climb (2km at 2.6%) seemed easier than before.  The saddle and the lack of fatigue gave me confidence and the new bar ends gave me options to hold on with my chest open for breathing.

Comfort on the bike makes a big difference

When fatigue starts and no position feels comfortable, it’s hard to continue.  When you’re comfortable (or at least, when nothing hurts) you can go on as long as water, food and lights will take you.  I didn’t realise how much I was held back by hard grips and a poor saddle.  A 20km ride twice a day was OK.  Maybe, I could have done the 50km option of Capital Punishment (apparently they were short a few riders).  Next year.

Next weekend I’ll extend my out journey to take on some more hills and on the way back I’ll explore Mt Majura (avoiding construction work on the Majura Parkway and I might climb the whole of the Federal Highway to Eagle Hawk and maybe find a way from McHeahnie Lane to Goorooyarroo Reserve.

See you on the trail.


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