I knew as soon as I sold my last bike that I would want another one. Within three weeks of saying goodbye to the Hardrock Sport, I had a new Specialized Hardrock XC. (Click the image for details.)
It’s less of a bike than the Hardrock Sport but that suits me fine. It doesn’t have front suspension negating the weight savings of the Aluminium frame or absorbing my energy when I power on. I miss those great disc brakes though, but maybe I’ll get them fitted on this one at a later date.
So I’m back riding after an 8-month break. I started off slowly. I cycled from home to train station in the morning. Then get the train to work. There’s no component at the other end, my office is next to the train station. I would then catch the train back to my local station and then cycle back home. A hair under 5 miles a day. A good start. It was no challenge at all.
I did two weeks of that and then decided I was ready to cycle all the way home in the evening. That journey home is eleven and a half miles! Much more of a challenge.
I was not surprised to find that the first couple of hills were very hard. They are short but steep. I soldiered on with some sections being quite a strain. But then, around half way home, I suddenly realized that it wasn’t hard work! I was cruising along at a comfortable 15mph, legs pumping but not working hard. Breathing was regular, not laboured. Just like 8 months ago. In all the journey took 55 minutes to do the 11½ miles.
I’m amazed at the human body. With the trip home from my previous job only 7½ miles and having had 8 months off the road I really thought I would struggle to do that distance . I guess my fitness levels must have been pretty high. The next four days were pretty much the same, though my time home got longer towards the end of the week. I think that first Friday’s journey took 65 minutes.
Since then, I’ve done another three weeks. I’m clocking up a little under 70 miles per week. The journey has become slightly easier. I have been consistently taking 55-60 minutes. Tonight was definitely under that. There is one stretch about ¾ of the way through that has been a real struggle, it is long hill. Not too steep, but quite long and with a steeper bit in the middle. A change of gearing strategy has helped there and I’m managing it better.
Over the next few weeks I want to increase my morning distance until I’m doing the whole journey by bike. That will be nearly 125 miles per week. That should keep me fit!