04/04/10: One is good, two is better

Had a pleasant ride on Sunday.  Despite arriving to a hail shower, the weather actually picked up and you could see that funny glowing orb thing in the sky.  Feeling a little off-colour, Mr Toast decided to take it easy and ride Follow the Dog with me.  So, off we went.  Initially, things didn’t seem too promising – as I was coming down the turns at the end of two, I became aware of a much faster chap (on an Orange P7, fact fans) closing behind me.  Rather annoyingly (for both myself and the unfortunate following biker), having people behind me makes me feel under pressure, and I tend to slow down more than if I was on my own.  Bottled the exit, and shuffled down, cursing.

Crawled up the fire road hill to 8, my knees feebly protesting.  Not really in a mood to argue with them, I switched to granny gear far earlier than I normally would, fondly reminiscing about the days when I made it up the entire hill in middle ring.  Admittedly, it was only three days at most, but that’s not the point.

Section 8 was a bit annoying and slippy, it’s probably the second I like the least when it’s not bone-dry.  Rode everything fine, stopped for a swift break at the end and marvelled at people shuffling down the exit or catching their pedals/chain ring because they’re going too slow.  It’s a bit odd, as it really is one of those things that looks worse than it actually is.

Bypassing the closed sections, it was onwards to 12 and beyond.  Managed to keep up a good speed, and on section 13 I was having to slow down quite a bit so that Mr Toast could keep a decent distance in front.  Although a) he said he was going a lot slower than usual, and b) I probably wouldn’t have been going that fast if I wasn’t chasing him!  The climb up Ill Phil’s Hill on 14 was fairly brutal but we finished the remainder of the trail without any issue (apart from walkers on the trail!).

Had a café stop and gorged on the rather pleasing blackcurrant slices they’ve starting selling, along with a cup of tea.  Feeling re-energised, I asked if we could do section 2 again, as I didn’t want to leave a day that I hadn’t ridden the not-actually-very-difficult-but-I-have-a-complex-about-it exit.  As I was riding around, I thought, “Yeah, I can do another lap”.  As I rode out of the exit, Mr Toast evidently thought similar, and said, “Go round again?”

So off we went.  Strangely, I found the climbs less brutal on the second lap – maybe I just need to warm up better, I don’t know.  The knee pain had receded for the most part, and I rode the remainder of the trail a lot faster than on the first lap.  I did have a bizarre moment after stopping just before 15 – somehow I couldn’t manage to dismount, so ended up capsizing to the right instead, with my bike landing on top of me.  Very strange. :/ Contemplating adjusting the saddle as currently it’s quite forward on it’s rails, hopefully some tweaking will make stopping and starting a bit easier – currently I can’t really hop on and off as smoothly as I’d like.

Ride: Cannock Chase

Trail: Follow the Dog

Highlights: Doing two laps (well, two laps of the open sections)

Bad bits: Rubbish knees on hills (again)

Post ride food snaffled: Blackcurrent slice and tea mid-way!

Good Dogs Seen: Spaniels (all flavours) and Jack Russells seemed to have a monoply of the Chase…

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