Even the deer are giving me odd looks

Day off today so once the rain cleared I went out for a well-established ritual training ride in Richmond Park: the three lapper. I’ve not been on the bike much recently so felt like I needed to get out and clear myself out a bit ahead of this weekend’s racing as well as attempt to put some effort into keeping my weight down.

I’m currently tipping in at just over 75kg but with the hard bit of winter coming up I need to keep it in check. I’ve also not ridden properly in a fortnight, bar a few hour-long rides across town so my fitness is coming off a bit. At my last ‘cross race I felt good and strong and now I feel like that hard-won fitness is fading.

The three laps work out at around 33km and when I add in the distance there and back it works out around 50km in total, which is a good ride for a man with a couple of hours on his hands. I aim to get the three laps done in a touch over an hour usually, although I’m sure I should be able to do them in under the hour if I really push it. Today it was more a case of just riding and blowing away the cobwebs than setting a time.

I’ve discovered that I get in an increasingly poor mood the less time I get to spend on my bike. Perhaps it’s a form of replacement therapy and gives me the same sensations that I used to get from drinking. I love the feeling of just getting out there and being able to push everything else out of my mind as I turn the pedals.

Unfortunately today it was rather difficult to clear my mind as my chain kept skipping in the middle of the cassette and I dropped the chain off the front a couple of times as well. It might be because I put my training wheels and 25mm tyres on the ‘cross bike rather than taking my race bike out. Or because I haven’t cleaned the ‘cross bike properly since the last time I rode it so the chain is a bit sticky.

By the end of the third lap I was just starting to settle into something approaching a groove but I was running out of patience with the chain skip. Plus my slightly lumpy riding was causing even the deer to look at me with bafflement in their eyes. Frankly when you get to that stage of riding, you should call it a day. So I did.

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