So this was the winter when I was supposed to train! I got kitted out with some “longs” and a fancy new Windstopper jacket, and I was going to keep the mileage up and be ready in the spring to push on with my cycling from a good base fitness level.
Of course, my four common colds didn’t help. Health was an issue. But even without that, it’s not quite as easy as you think.
Winter isn’t just cold and wet. It’s dark! And this presents a whole new set of challenges. Especially as my longer rides tend to be on the way home after 6pm.
Most of my longer rides take me out onto quiet country roads, and these tend not to be lit.
“Well, that’s OK”, I hear you say, “you put lights on”.
But that’s doesn’t quite work either. You see most lights are good for getting you seen, but they’re no good for see-ing. My one attempt at dark country lanes was WELL scary, even with both a Halogen and an LED light headlight on.
No, without strapping a huge contraption and heavy battery to your bike like some night-time mountain bikers do, it’s just not safe – especially at road bike speeds.
This Thursday was an attempt to fix the winter problem of covering distance in the dark. Sally was busy and the run on Wednesday had got me hooked again on exercise adrenaline. So I headed off my normal route home to attempt a decent, well-lit, urban training ride.
The route is on Bikely and I’ve called it the Swindon Ring Road. I won’t pretend it’s entirely safe – there were some hairy moments with cars. I won’t pretend it’s massively quick – there are lights and junctions and roundabouts. But it’s MOSTLY long, straightish, flattish tarmac…with lights!
I was quite pleased to do a 14-miler as my first training run of 2009 after a few weeks off, and I didn’t feel too bad afterwards. I confess that I bailed out of climbing up Marlborough Road towards a downhill finish. I think the real route should look more like this.