After yesterdays sprint this was to be a far different ride. Yesterday afternoon I swapped around my tyres, removing the Continental Grand Prix 4000 tyres that I had been using in France and refitted the Schwalbe Stelvio tyres. In my opinion they are just as good but half the price. They come from the former Eastern Germany whereas the Continentals have a great and long reputation and are from the Western part of Germany. Both tyres seem equally puncture resistant. I also have Schwalbe Lugano tyres on the Specialized bike.
I wanted to do a ride of 100km plus today. I had all day ‘free’ because it was a rest day in the Tour de France so no need to take my place on the sofa right after lunch. I sat down to the ‘Map My Ride’ website and planned my route and got it pretty much right first time at 105km.
I headed west from home and briefly into Northamptonshire but was soon back into Buckinghamshire and there I stayed. My route took me all the way round the ‘back’ of the town of Buckingham, down through Winslow and then around the southern perimeter of Milton Keynes. Lots of the route was new to me as I wasnt too bothered when planning the route where I went I just wanted the distance.
I ended up riding through some interesting little lanes and a couple of ‘hamlets’ I had never heard of before, let alone visited. There was even grass growing up the middle of some roads they had so little use. One part was intentional and that was the ride up from the ‘Three Locks’ pub on the Grand Union canal and up to ‘The Brickhills’. It’s quite a testing climb and I wanted to see how I fared after my recent climbing exploits in France. It did seem much easier and considerably shorter than it appeared before I went away. I didn’t have to use my French Alpine climbing techniques I just kept a good rhythm going and changed down accordingly when needed but I never got as low was when I was doing my alpine exploits. I didn’t have such low gears available today as I did then, having changed the rear cassette last week but I still never reached the lowest gear.
Towards the end of the ride my legs where getting to ache somewhat, which is how it should be I guess but I pressed on keeping the cadence around 80 rpm as much as possible and when it dropped to below 70 on a climb I would change down to raise the tempo but lower the speed. It seemed to work well and I was still pushing quite hard right up to and over the last climb.