Monday, July 21, 2008

Riding the grass

I just realize that it has been a good few weeks since I last posted something. That makes me feel guilty as so many people have told me that they are reading the blog. I hope that you all haven't given up waiting.

The truth is I've been riding my bike. I went down to the Finger Lakes in New York with a group of friends. There were 24 of us in total and I was just about the least fit of the lot. I had only myself to blame as I hadn't really ridden since the end of last season. Normally I run in the winter but this year the weather was awful and although that usually doesn't stop me running this year I couldn't summon up any enthusiasm for running on ice covered paths.

On returning from New York I decided to get back into my grass training routine. As those of you who know me know I am not much into all the modern training technology of power meters, heart rate monitors, gym sessions, massage and all the rest. I just ride the bike when I can and normally run when I can't. However it is difficullt to get a good training ride in when one lives in the centre of the city. So I ride the grass. I live close to the park and I have set up a route within the park which is almost all on grass. The only parts on pavement are up and down short steep (15%) hills. I ride my old Alan cyclo-cross bike which still hasn't yet come unglued after thirty years of use. The route takes me about an hour, a bit longer when the grass is wet and a bit less the fitter I get. It is a really good work out and it is fun. I have to ignore the stares of those who I am sure wonder why that silly old fool rides on the grass when there are perfectly good paved paths to ride on.

An hour on the grass is worth about three hours on the road. I liken it to riding a mountain pass. There is very little let up. There are some areas that are down hill and quite fast but you get stretches like that when climbing most mountains. There are other uphill sections that are a real struggle in my bottom gear of 42 x 28.

Since I got back from New York I have been riding the grass two or three times a week and what a difference it has made to my fitness. Riders that were dropping me on every hill in NY I can now stay with. A few more sessions and maybe I shall be able to drop some of them.

How much better one feels when fit. Not just on the bike but in every aspect of life. The vast majority of the population don't know what it is like to be even close to being fit. What a lot they are missing. Over the years I have had so many people come to the shop concerned about the weight saving of one component over another when they are carrying about twenty pounds under their belt. Some where their priorities are all wrong. As a good friend recently said "there is just one way to get fitter-ride more, eat less" To that I'd add "ride the grass".