Very much a ride of three halves

Sunday evening I thought I’d try something a bit different. I’ll just head away from Stevenage in one direction for about an hour, I thought,  then I’ll head back.

That was my plan, anyway. I soon discovered that the roads just don’t let you get all that far trying to head East. I actually went past one “no through road” sign because I simply didn’t believe it, but sure enough found myself at a farm gate half a mile later so had to retrace my steps. That’ll learn me. So, I abandoned my plan and headed south for a while beforefinally turning West once I worked out where I was, and north again once I’d decided the best way back home.

It was a funny old ride, though. That whole Eastbound section at the begining was damn hard work. It was windy, and a bit chilly (I kept telling myself “I’ll soon warm up”) and just felt a bit of a slog.  I’d left a bit later than I’d planned, and didn’t have an awful lot of energy.

The middle section, however, was lovely. That whole bit from about eight miles to about fifteen was beautiful. Nice smooth roads, lovely scenery, and by now I was in to the swing of the ride and felt full of energy and enthusiasm. It was great fun, and at times it felt like I had the whole place to myself. I went for miles without seeing any cars – or indeed anyone else at all. And was rewarded with the most spectacular sky as I headed west from Watton towards Datchworth.  I only had my iPhone camera with me, so this hardly captures the beauty of it, but I had to try.

The sky looked a lot nicer than this in real life.
Taken at about 14.5 miles, looking North-West.

That darkening sky had its down-side though. Once the sun had gone, it really did get cold. And even with my ‘not bad’ lights, this was no time to be out there alone on tiny rural roads (especially as I’d brilliantly opted to go out wearing a dark top). So that whole northwards section heading home was a bit miserable. Not only was I getting cold and tired, I was getting increasingly desperate for a pee.

Still, it was my best ride yet this year in terms of milage, if not the best average speed (that head-wind at the beginning really slowed me down).

I did something else new – I wore a heart rate monitor for the first time ever. Here’s the graph:

Pretty isn’t it? Trouble is, I have no idea what I’m supposed to do with this information. None whatsoever.

Today’s dull stats:

Riding time: 1 hr 48 mins
Distance: 22.48 miles
Average speed: 12.5 mph
Top speed: 28.4 mph
Average heart rate: 152 bpm
Max heart rate: 239 bpm

Tomorrow, I’ll finally be getting my hands on this bike:

Let’s see how I get on with it!

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