Turf Blog 28-05-24

Turf Zone – TwoHares

Let me start today’s turf blog by adding a few words to yesterday’s topic where I was looking at creating the ultimate turfing bicycle. I’m just back from a turf session along the Penicuik to Dalkeith cycleway, including a trip down by the old gunpowder mill and onwards to Shawfair. The one thing I will add from this trip is that bigger tyres add one very important aspect, and that is confidence. Yes, they weigh more and yes, they take more energy but the additional confidence they inspire trumps everything else. Now, on with the turf blog.

Turf Zone – HareWhere

With rubbish wet weather forecast for the afternoon, I was away early to grab a few zones, try out the tyre changes on the bike and check out a large landslide that had occurred in Roslin Glen. I actually did something else as well, not something I set out to do initially but more on that later. First of all, love the bigger tyres, a tad harder to pedal but well worth doing. I’m now able to blast across the cobbles and loose gravel found on many local cycleways with ease, more comfortably, more stable and just about perfect.

Turf Zone – NoSmoking

It was my wife Cathryn, aka ChoccyMuffin, who mentioned the landslide on the track through the old gunpowder mill in Roslin Glen, something I always want to check out as a sand collector. I’m always on the lookout for further samples to collect. Turns out a bit mushy for collecting but will return again another day when it’s dried out. Ascending from Roslin Glen to Roslyn means you have to tackle that steep, busy with traffic, switchback road, but fear not, I had gears today and managed the climb albeit with some effort. Actually, I hate that stretch of road, too much traffic driving too fast and blind bends as well. Wish there was an alternative quieter route.

Now, I’m on the Roslyn to Shawfair cycle route and the brain cells are starting to fire up with an idea. Yes, the Loanhead Ferret Run is tempting. In fact, it’s more than tempting, it’s a go. Might was well try out the new bike, with gears! Perhaps that will make all the difference I need to better my best time so far of 7:53 minutes. It’s definitely not the best time of day to try this, too many pesky walkers, old ladies pushing prams, proud horse riders and worst of all dog walkers with dodgy dogs. But whatever, I’m going this way anyway, so nothing to lose.

Turf Zone – NoSmoking

I gave it a good shot, making a stab at what gear to be in, what gear I’ll need to take off again and so on. Even trying to guess how many blocks in the take countdown I can leave before setting off for the next zone. I seem to have got away with 2 or 3 blocks without any issue. May need to do some testing to see what I can get away with. Lost a few seconds each to two different dog walkers when I had to slow down due to uncontrolled mutts and also overshot zone FountainBike, so had to backtrack. I would estimate I lost about 6 to 8 seconds overall. Pity, I would have beat MuttsCycles time! I think another very early morning visit is in order.

And what’s the result, 7:45 minutes, a mere 8 seconds off the previous 7:53 time. Okay, I’m never going to beat the best Scottish times, many of those had the benefit of the Region Lord bonus taking another 50 seconds of the time, but if I can get into the Top 10 or a time under 7.00 minutes that would be great. Mission impossible, perhaps. So, what can I do to get the best from my next attempt?

  • hold the Region Lord bonus.
  • pump up the tyre pressures.
  • wait for a tail wind from the West.
  • carry less weight on the bike i.e. rucksack.
  • plan when to brake for each zone.
  • best stop position within the zones.
  • determine optimal gear selection.
  • wear more streamlined clothing.
  • build up my leg muscles and overall fitness.
  • buy infinite improbability drive for bike.

Turf Zone – ThreeHares

But wait a minute, here’s an idea. Instead of trying to better the time at the same old location, using the same zones, why not try to gain an Eager Weasel at different sets of 10 zones? Perhaps, The Meadows in Edinburgh, or Portobello promenade, or here in Bonnyrigg. Levenhall Links in Musselburgh also look good and the Royal Mile has 10 zones in around 2.00km, though two sets of traffic lights and cobbles might be an issue. Would that not be a more interesting challenge and a good reason to be out at silly o’clock turfing. Wish me luck!

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