Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Improving in leaps, if not bounds.

Had a great morning on my new Subway 1, I was up and out on the road at 06.15, to do my usual local run, down through Glynneath, to Aberdulais, then returning back up the valley, a quick circuit of Cwmgwrach, back though Glynneath, up to Pontneathvaughan and home. Well that's what I intended, but when I got home, I decided to try the Subway 1 on Rhigos bank, the hill behind our house, that leads up and out of the Neath valley to Hirwaun and Aberdare.

Several times before, after my local rides, I've tried the hill on the Subway 8, and only managed a few hundred yards, it climbs for about 2 miles. Consequently, I thought to myself, I wouldn't be going very far, but I hadn't taken into consideration the better range of gears on the Subway 1. With 14 to choose from, as I climbed I dropped down through the gears and settled into 3rd, very much a granny gear, happily rolling up the hill at 6mph. Initially, I kept going because I wanted to find a spot, to take a photo, looking down the valley, it was cold this morning, but by 08.15, the sun was up in a blue cloudless sky, it was absolutely beautiful.

Halfway up I thought I'd found such a vantage point, but when I pulled into the side of the road, getting off the bike to take a look, the view was blocked by trees. Returning back to the road, I looked back down the hill, to see 3 riders on road bikes, and in all their regalia, powering up towards me. I decided to wait for them to pass, before continuing my climb. As they passed I exchanged hellos and a smile, it was 2 men, and a girl, then I spotted a 4th rider about a hundred yards behind, and decided to let this one pass as well. When this rider was close enough I could see it was another girl, and she was obviously finding the climb alot more difficult than the others. As she approached I gave an encouraging, " Well done, keep it going," to which she gave me a beaming smile.

I watched them continue their climb for a couple of minutes, and then continued with mine. Steadily I kept going, in 3rd and 4th, all the way to the top, and on to the outskirts of Hirwaun. In all the 3 years I've been cycling I've never dared to try that hill, yet today, I conquered it, seemingly with ease, with the aid of the Subway 1, so I'm a very happy cyclist, who feels he is improving his stamina and fitness, those are the "leaps."

By the way, those road cyclists were long gone and out of sight, well before I made the top, so I can't claim both "leaps and bounds." On top of that, I forgot to get a photo! But I did enjoy my ride today.

Mileage: 36


Nick said...

So the derailleur is working out OK then. Good.

Sometimes, when I'm missing the hills, I really envy you the countryside through which you ride. If only it went up and down a bit more where I live I'd be a very happy bunny.

welshcyclist said...

Yes nick, so far, so good, the derailleur is doing the job, and I'm more than pleased. It seems the old internal hub gears, that I persisted with, for so long, actually tied me down to just wandering the Neath valley. Since having the Subway 1, with it's 14 derailleur gears, I've managed to try hills, and conquer, that I'd never have had the confidence to attempt before. I've escaped this valley, as beautiful as it is, and finding beauty elsewhere, even in more hills.