Just like the Chinese Grand Prix: Effective but a bit dull.

Over Christmas, for three months, I had The Virus. No idea what it was, it was somewhere between a cold, flu and general lethargy. Naturally if I'd not kept riding or doing all the things I do, it quite probably would have been gone within a month.

Anyway, the result has been not quite a loss of fitness, more a loss of power. The engine can still keep running if you fuel it, yet there's nothing in the tank. Up hills, along dale, or downhill - all tire me out now. So my Sunday ride, solo, was always going to be more about rehabilitation than blasting about. A bimble if you like. It was also about seeing how little I could carry and get away with. At Afan, what with the weather and the need to carry food, spares etc., pack weights were getting near 10kg. There was a need for that in the mountains, but by heck I'm not carrying that much around Surrey.

In my pack yesterday? 200ml water, a multi tool, pump, puncture repair kit, banana, money. That was it. No 'phone, no spare bike bits that I never use, no 3l of water where 2l remains at the end of a ride. My little bottle I filled up where I could, and it did for me yesterday. 200ml is silly though. To that end I've ordered an Enduro pack from North Face. That has a small bag plus two small water bottles. We'll see.

The ride? Nothing special. Up the hill, along a bit, bit of a loop, down the hill. Call it 18 miles, all off road. Enough to have felt like I'd been out, but nowhere near enough to sap what little energy I do have. Indeed I felt good getting home. Makes a change not riding until I've no energy and then realising home is still five miles away. In my mind all those long rides done whilst ill were fun, but had a negative impact on recovery. They prolonged the virus. Even now, a good month after it cleared, I've no real energy to do things.
Not many people out and about. Of those that were, the horse riders and cyclists were all friendly. Indeed one pair pulled a stunt on me that brought a smile. Normal gate scenario. I was hanging back, as we approached the gate, intending a sneaky cut through. Lead rider spotted this, so slowed and called back to let the faster rider through! He then gate jumped me.

The walkers, though, were all miserable, trail hogging monsters. I'd slow, call out, wait, call out and get the usual total ignore, blank stare, lack of movement or death wish look. Most of this on an actual road. 
Anyway, took the Orange 5 out to play. It's a great bike, even at 26". However, when I bought it I swopped the stock stem out for a 50mm item I'd lying around. Did the job, so it stopped on the bike. It's failure though was that it was stock Nuke Proof bright yellow. Not a big deal, hence why it stuck for over two years. Yesterday though, in the April sun, I had time to resolve that issue.

Not often you see a picture of my 50mm stubbie now is it ;-)