After what seemed like days of rain, and high winds, this morning was perfect weather for a ride.
My aim was to try and do a longer ride. In fact, further than I had ridden in years. I wanted to go to Wallingford and back, which I reckoned would be about 25 miles. This would start to show me if my fitness was improving and would be a break from usual shorter routes, which seem to follow the same roads.
I picked out a rough route on google maps before I went, donned my new windstopper (a Gore Oxygen SO) and set off.
As usual I struggled for the first 30 minutes of the ride, but tried to keep in a lower gear and a higher cadence to live with it. The route was a gradual drag up hill past Goring Heath and to Woodcote. Then I kept to B roads across to South Stoke, which featured a monster downhill. I seriously need to get fitter before attempting to climb back up that! Then a few rolling roads across to Wallingford.
I skirted around the outside and headed back on the other side of the river. The route through Cholsey and through to Streatley was a little up and down but the main feature was a terrible head wind. It really knocked the stuffing out of me and my legs were feeling heavy.
I turned left at Streatley and went through Goring. I knew I had a big climb ahead back up to the top of the hills before heading home, but I didn't realise quite how big! About a third of the way I turned a sharp left and the road just rose in front of me. I went to drop into lower gears and I realised I only had one left! I'm not afraid to say I did walk a small bit until the slope levelled a bit. I need to get fitter and loose weight to help my climbing...
The rest of the climb was still steep but easier for me to get into a rythm, followed by a nice blast back into Caversham. All in all a great ride.
I did learn that I need to increase my base fitness a lot and loosing some weight will really help me up some of the hills.