Fluctuating strength and difficult miles.

23 04 2016

Today was a good day.

Two hours of high intensity, hard, stabby climbing and woodsy singletrack. I made every single techy climb I tried on my local trails, including one I have never made on a singlespeed before.

Yeah, it has been dry and that helps, no doubt, but for the first time in 6 months I felt like I could get on top of my 33:18 gear and make the hard efforts, recover and go again.

That is some real progress and I was stoked to feel some power returning. I have been back at the kettle bells a bit, mostly alternate leg squats with a 16 and a 20kg bell. I need to feel like I can produce more watts – the atrophy over those few months of poor effort is astounding.

This is a pretty good turnaround for me. A couple of weeks ago I headed up to Brig O’Turk to take on the Mell loop. I haven’t done this loop for many years, but my memory suggested that it had a pretty good amount of climbing and some difficult miles are what my legs need at present.

To add just a wee bit of effort and distance, I started at Braeval and headed over through Queen Elizabeth forest on the Three Lochs drive (why on earth folk drive round forests I have no idea).

Instead of the usual anti-clockwise direction, I decided to take the loop backwards.


The climbing was at times more than I could make on Maul with the 32:36 low gear. I didn’t feel great all day but it was useful to just grind out the climb.

I also wanted to see the continuation of the Mell path towards Lochearnhead. This might be useful for a future ride, but even on a relatively fine day, the grass land it crossed looked very boggy. One for the fat bike, I suspect.

So. Progress. Now I need a hard 10-11 hour loop to consolidate things. We will see.

I was also at Bespoked. A great show and I will come back to it soon and a photo gallery will be on my flickr once Singletrack (who also have some reportage on the show) have used my pics.

Ok for now.




9 responses

25 04 2016
John Keiffer

What do those single leg squats look like?

25 04 2016

Yeah, thats not a great description eh?! I think the proper name is a split squat? Or a lunge…

27 04 2016

Hill path to Balquidder is fine, rode it last year on 29+. Good continuation if you go out the back of the church in Balquidder and turn left to cross a col/bealach and drop out on the old rail line above Lix Toll. For bonus miles go Glen Ogle – Glen Lednock-Comrie-Callander 🙂

27 04 2016

thanks Bryan. i rode that continuation a few years ago as far as lix toll/rtn via Ogle – thanks for reminding me of it! what is the going like in Glen Lednock? i’m familiar with the Comrie trails but haven’t linked too much together up there…

28 04 2016

Bit of hike a bike/push from the reservoir into the top of lednock – then fine to ride if you’re on a fatty. Top of Glen lednock loose but fun then some truly delightful singletrack through some woods into comrie. We’ve been trying to ride callander-finglas-balquidder-ogle-comrie-callander for a while now and need to go back for another shot. 65mi but 10 000ft of climbing and some slow terrain – reckon 8.5 to 10 hr loop !!
Am planning on incorporating this into a southern highlands bikepacking loop starting Milngavie – picking up three lochs way then ferry to inversnaid – aberfoyle – the above loop then back to aberfoyle via rob roy then Milngavie either via comer and WHW or rob roy to WHW. If you’ve got 2.5 free days then let me know.


3 05 2016

Do you have any gpx info for your long routes round this area? I occasionally visit but unfamiliar with the riding here and don’t have the time for recce rides. A steer on trail info would be really useful.

5 05 2016

next time im in my gps ill try and pull off some gpx. thanks!

3 05 2016

Got gpx for a couple of rides in this region. More than happy to mail them on.
PM me on bryandawson@doctors.org.uk and I’ll send you some stuff. Be keen to pick your brains on that loop you did out to Dunkeld last year and some cairngorms stuff…

5 05 2016

thanks bryan! although i do use a gps sometimes im a technophobe for the most part and dont tend to pull off the gpx tracks. thanks! and thanks for the beta…will try and pull some time together and get out and check out those hills…

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