I read recently that it was good hill training to pedal a hill with slow cadence in a higher gear. I did this from the first roundabout on Carmunnock Road, past Kings Park to the top of the hill. I stayed in the saddle, like I nearly always do – I tried to keep my speed above single figures but Mr South Westerly was back on my case – I wanted to go to my lowest gear but I didn’t – I wanted to listen to what my lungs were telling me but I couldn’t hear them properly as my legs were screaming at the same time. When I checked the measure later I shaved three seconds off my previous record for this short, 0.2 mile stretch. Zero point two miles! I went through all that pain for just zero point two miles…. what a whimp! I was whacked! So much so that to pedal down to the next roundabout was difficult. It wasn’t that my legs were sore (they were), it’s just they didn’t work very well. The next part of Carmunnock Road was in sight as I left the next roundabout, just a 4% steady climb and less than half a mile but I was taking this slow. In fact I now resigned myself to slow cadence is low gear, for the rest of the ride, I thought.
I’d originally planned to go to Gleniffer Braes but didn’t feel it, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to cycle all the way to Paisley with the wind in my face. Totally undecided I cycled down Saltmarket and thought about all the routes I could go. Even when I was hurting going up Carmunnock Road, I still had no idea where I was going. Though I knew I now wasn’t going to climb from Paisley, through Gleniffer and up past the ‘Car Park in the Sky’. Shame, I have been wanting to do this climb for a while now, I see it as good preparation for climb out of Fort Augustus in twelve days time (well doing it twice might be). It seems daunting now but long ago, as a teenager, for the year or so when I was cycling, I don’t remember being so afraid of it.
I found myself in Carmunnock, I guess my legs were telling my subconscious mind that they were in the mood for more abuse and sent me up another hill to this little village. I’d past through this place only once, maybe twice before. It was quiet, a few cars but no people on the streets, little wonder as it was an unpleasant night, windy with raging grey skies. The air was wet but I was undecided whether or not it was raining. I turned left halfway through the village, not sure why, maybe because that way looked the hilliest! It was, I found myself cycling up Cathkin Braes, such a hostile looking place.
So this was Cathkin Braes and not a Mountain Bike to be seen. I felt like a bit of a cheat, I came out with the intention of hurting my legs on some tough climbing. But apart from the jelly making at the bottom of the climb it seemed a rather gentle affair. I zipped down the hill, the light was just about good enough to see far enough ahead on the unfamiliar road. I should do that again, I thought, it may make me feel better about not visiting Gleniffer. So I nipped through Kings Park area, heading west and hoping I’d meet Carmunnock Road at some point. On this occasion my sense of direction did not elude me and very pleased at the point which I rejoined Carmunnock Road – immediately after that short steep climb that turned my legs to mush. Too bad I wasn’t doing that bit again. The downhill from the top was excellent again, the road was now familiar but just that little bit darker, so I covered the brake handle just as much.
Strange how I start to feel good ten to fifteen miles into the cycle. Too bad, it was time to go home. I had text conversation with Gemma earlier and agreed to call when I got back. So didn’t want to leave it too late as I was looking forward to speaking with her. And I was getting bored of this wind.