Bolsover | Day # 15

It felt good to be back on the bike.  I waited until the afternoon for warmer temperatures (10 C) and clear blue skies.

I did the Brechin Loop in a clockwise direction, hoping to avoid wind.  It didn’t work.  There is always wind these days.  11 kph today coming from the north.  I had 10-12 km directly into it.  But again, I didn’t mind.  I geared down, dropped on the bars and powered through it maintaining at 20-25 kph.  Not bad.

I mentioned previously, I am becoming more comfortable on the drops.  I have been there most of the time for the past two weeks.  I climb and get out of the saddle when I am on the drops.  This is new for me.  More often that not I would be on the hoods or top of the bars and only drop down on descents.  The position is certainly more aerodynamic but I find I prefer the position even when I am not battling a headwind.  I am comfortable there.  The bike is more stable.  And, I go faster with less effort.

It is quite a juxtaposition.  Bolsover and Toronto.  They are worlds apart.  And yet, so close.  Only a 90 minute drive away.  There are many differences but, from a cycling perspective, there is really no comparison.  The Bolsover country roads are safer, quieter, more scenic and exhilarating.

The area may not be a cycling mecca.  I have certainly not encountered many other road cyclists in these parts.  I am no sure why.  It may be the time of year.  During the summer months, when there are more cottagers up from the city, I suspect there would be more.  Which is to say that the locals do not cycle or, if they do, not much.  Their usual mode of transport is a pickup truck.  It also suggests that road cyclist are more urban, younger and middle class (whatever that might mean).  You do not see the poor on bikes.  In this country, the GranFondo phenomenon attracts the middle aged and upwardly mobile demographic.

Road cycling can be expensive.  $10,000+ carbon bikes.  $500+ kits.  It doesn’t have to be but, if you get into it, the costs climb.  You want to ride better, longer, steeper and faster.  That means lighter.  And lighter means carbon, titanium, ultra-light, aerodynamic components.  The cost is prohibitive to many.  And, to really appreciate the technology, you need to be in reasonably good shape.  And, getting into reasonable shape, means spending a lot of time on the bike.  And, for many, that too is prohibitive.  Not everyone has the time to spend several hours a day training on a bike.  You can understand why road cycling can be considered an elitist sport.  It takes money and leisure time.

But I digress.  I was discussing how I have become a better cyclist for having battled headwinds for two weeks.  How the wind gets me into a more aerodynamic position and, encourages me to cycle in circles, to use the quads, hamstring and gluts throughout the pedal stroke.

In that sense, cycling in the wind is an excellent training aid.

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