19/04/08: Don’t stop me now, I’m having a good time!

I had such an AWESOME time today. I think it’s the best I’ve ever ridden, seriously. I did an entire lap of Follow the Dog, and I think I actually shaved a good 10 minutes off my previous best time.

I made sure I was dosed up on ibuprofen, and set off. First section – didn’t stop once, and took all of the berms. Second section I took less well, and nearly flew off like a tard at the end of the bridge (didn’t slow down enough/turn fast enough). Third section I took fairly well, although I avoided the boardwalk due to there being an instructional class walking up and down it – they did say ‘go ahead’, but I didn’t want to do the boardwalk with an audience!

Then there was the fireroad hill. God, I hate it so much, and sometimes, I wonder if I’ll ever manage to get up it on a bike. Mr Toast has suggested that I should promise myself a new bike for when I finally manage it. I may have my Trek for some time…

But the fun part of long uphills is that there’s inevitably downhills. I decided to take the older, shorter section instead of the new one, and I was glad I did. I used to avoid this section, as the first time I went down it, I came off. Twice. It terrified me. Today, I flew down it – admittedly, I nearly came a cropper on one berm, but I was impressed (and surprised) at how much I had improved.

The woody sections leading up to Section 13 were also a lot of fun, but tiring, especially on the knees, although I actually (drumroll please!) overtook someone! Section 13…a lot of fun, as usual, and I really did go hell for leather (by my standards, anyway). I laid almost completely off the brakes, got right out of the saddle, I remembered Mr Toast’s tip about angling my feet so they wouldn’t bounce off the pedals on the bumps.

Before Section 13, I was thinking, “I’m feeling a bit iffy, I’ll do Section 13, then head back.” After Section 13, I was re-energised, and decided that stopping was actually the worst idea ever. To Ill Phil’s Hill!

I was ropey on the uphills (ok, ok, I put the ‘push’ into ‘push bike), but on the downhills – again, I got right back off the saddle, laid off the brakes and flew down. I also went stupidly fast (for me) on the wooded section after Ill Phil’s Hill.

So, I felt a lot more confident and speedy, but my fitness is still causing me to take long breaks. Got to get that fixed.

Ride: Cannock Chase

Trail: Follow the Dog

Highlights: Doing all of Follow the Dog faster and better than I ever had before. Taking bits which I used to be terrified of with ease. Basking in the smug glow of self-improvement.

Bad bits: None, apart from my appalling lack of fitness!

Post ride food snaffled: Chocolate shortbread.

Good dogs seen: Oh god, where to begin? Numerous Jack Russels, including Zack (I think – the dog who FTD is named after), and two tiny, adorable dalmation puppies. SO SWEET!

I should also point out that, as good as my performance was today, Mr Toast actually did two laps in the time it took me to do one.

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