Winter training begins for real

Once I totted up all my free weekends between now and the HT550 I realised that I actually have very few opportunities for long rides. So I'm going to have to focus and make some tough decisions for other things not to do. And I'll also have to make sure I really make the long sessions count.

So, after a fantastic time and lots of ceilidh dancing at Elspeth and Tom's wedding, I decided to ride home off road via Callander, Aberfoyle and Drymen. I wasn't too sure what to expect with the weather but knew that, at 100km, it wasn't too long a ride and a bit of extra toughness training probably wouldn't kill me. I set out at 7.30am, before any of the other guests were up (though Neil had long since set out on his own climbing trip). The sun was just coming up and I had a beautiful ride along country lanes, approaching the track through Glen Gartney. As I left the farms behind the track got snowier and steeper and I ended up having to push a fair bit. But it was beautiful so I didn't mind so much. I was relieved to see a shiny new bridge in place near Stuic a Chroin, as I'd read on another blog that it was non-existent and didn't fancy an icy dip so early in the day.

From Callander, I headed out on bike path no 7 for the next 25km or so into Aberfoyle. This should have been pretty easy going but the ie made about 7km of it un-rideable and very slow going. Then I somehow couldn't find the singletrack down through the woods and ended up descending on fire roads. After that it was a blast through rather deserted woodland on the Rob Roy Way (more icy puddles) and picking up the Westie for a sunshine filled pedal home, which completely reminded me why I love cycling in the first place! 8hr for 100km isn't breaking any records but there was a lot of walking.
And that's my first big ride of the year done. Start as you mean to continue!

Location:Winter training


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