The focus has very much been on cardiovascular fitness recently. It's taken a good deal of effort and focus to do the 'proper' training thing and the skills have taken a bit of a back seat. Well, the last couple of weeks have been a concerted effort to redress the balance. With the trails drying up, I have the option of a great 20 mile singletrack route to work. It's flattish but has some great technical sections and is a welcome change form the road route. I've being doing some of my interval sessions off road too.
This Sunday I went up to Thrunton Woods in Northumberland. If you haven't ever ridden there then I would put it on your list of Places I must Ride Before I Die. No really! I've been riding there for years, and it's not a huge area, but I still find new trails and new areas of wood each time I go. The trails have been kind of built and reinforced in places but they ride more like 'really well worn in' than constructed. And it's got that unpredicatable natural edge that you would never find at a trail centre. The choice of trails is huge too... you could spend all day here easily. And that's what I did. There are plenty of steep fireroads to give yourself a beasting on and then you can dive off down some of the slippery peaty chutes, which seem to descend for far longer than they should, twisting through tree lined tunnels. Perfect for intervals with a twist. Whipped myself into a right frenzy in fact.... charging up the climbs, sketching it down moss covered rocks and pinballing through root mazes. Four hours later terminal velocity was reached, the computer said no, and over the bars I went, missing a particularly immoveable looking tree by inches. A bit like the child who has been told, 'Stop it now before somebody gets hurt' I decided it really was time to call it a day. Well, all afternoon hairing round in circles was probably enough anyway... My arms felt like they'd done ten rounds and my legs felt like they'd done ten laps. A Very Good Training Session. And the funny thing is, I had found just the right location for one the most challenging days riding in a while just up the road from my house... Nice.