Posted by: Ian | December 24, 2010

Happy Christmas!

An advantage of regular exercise is that you can eat pretty much anything you like and not worry about getting fat. This year I’ve cycled off over 200,000 calories and instead of getting skeletal, I’ve cashed in my cal credits by eating as many breakfast snacks and mince pies as I feel like. A disadvantage of regular exercise is that, when you stop, the eating habits you’ve acquired don’t necessarily stop at the same time and there’s the danger of a wave of unburned cal’s catching up with you. Over the past couple of weeks I feel as though that’s happened to me. A combination of work travel followed by heavy snow have conspired to keep me off the roads and I’m starting to feel a bit rubbish. At this stage it’s possibly psychological but I feel slow and lardy.

Last week I had my last ride of the year on the Tempo: what a fantastic bike that has been again! As during last winter, it copes brilliantly in the snow and ice, and in the good weather too it’s great fun. I had been hoping to get out on the Astraeus a few times before Christmas. Emily and I were planning to do a 70 mile circuit down to the Hive Beach and back, but the unbroken layers of snow and ice on the hilly roads surrounding Crickleaze kiboshed that. When I do next get a chance to do a proper long ride on the Astraeus I’ll post a review of it.

A couple of days ago I took the Amazon out for a ride round the block, which is only a 2 mile loop. The chunky spiky tyres I’d fitted recently (courtesy of Bicycle Chain) provided reassurance on the totally white roads. Here’s a snap of the bike next to Cinder Hill woods; last time I was on the Amazon I was riding through them.

On the steeper uphill sections, though, the going was slow – starting once stopped being the problem. Maybe I should have tried these (with thanks to Shaun for the link).

Today, Paula gave me a lift down into Taunton from where I rode back up Corfe Hill, again on the Amazon. My decline in fitness was notable. It’s a good training hill with a much steadier gradient than most of the roads around here have. Even so, I was spinning faster and breathing harder than I should have been. At the top the run along Brown Down was a treat: riding on a gently undulating road with clear un-icy tarmac and beautiful, extensive views. The run was interrupted by a farmer moving a flock of sheep, but that only added to the pleasure of it. The drop down into Bishopswood and then back up out towards Crickleaze for the final section of white-roading finished the run off nicely. It was only 11 miles but it was at least exercise.

Over the next few days I’m hoping to get out for one or two proper runs before the New Year, and then to start thinking more concretely about my 2011 riding calendar.


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