After having a good week of training I could have been forgiven to have a Sunday off but I have the next 10 days off work WOOhooo so there's plenty of time to rest. Forcast was once again good/great for the time of year so I packed my swim gear, spare shirt, buff, scarf, gloves and spare socks and toddled off to Rochdale baths for an easy swim session at 9am. I have been out on Jamis all this week, the saddle bag is on Vanquish, and once I got half way there I realised I haven't taken tyre levers out with me all week including today. Fate is terribly coincidental so crossed my fingers and toes. Arrived very early even though I was holding back so my clothes wouldn't get sweat laden so had a nice hot cuppa chocolate with extra sugar to perk up the constitution. Its taken a while for the newish Sunday swim to take off but today was a record of around 20. I stored my bike with the others in a safe locked room ( thx Rochdale Baths) and got ready to rumble.
20 lengths warmup. The next bit looked difficult as we hadn't done sets with more than 4 lengths for months. 5x200yds on 3min15 then 5x100yds on 1min 35 and then repeat!!! That is a lot of hard lengths! What made it worse I was moved from the slow middle lane to the fast outside lane :( where a 'new guy' was. It happens I knew Clem from 14years ago swimming for Aquabears and Rochdale. He still swims for the bears 'Masters' class. I was doing well to keep up, lost time on the turns as he is over 6ft and I am 5ft ( feels like it) but caught up a little on the swim. He was relentless, never taking a breather, but I was holding up very well considering I used to hate doing 8 length sets. The others were complaining we were going too fast but the session would have done them the world of good. The were getting some good rest/recovery periods by going fast as the times we were set are quite quick. Well, after the swim came the bike leg. I only saw 2 others with bikes but there ended up to be about 13 of us! That's the biggest chain gang I've been in. I gorged on a Snickers before we left as I had no breakfast again and tagged to the back of the line.
Traffic was heavy at 10.30am but very understanding as we travelled at a pace equal or lower to Steve F :) A very quick stop at Littleborough to pick up 2 others then up to Walsden, a route done millions of times by us all. A breakaway group of 3 started to form, I waited for the distance to increase, I was still near the rear of the main group. I made my move to join them at Summit and swung to the outside of one to get the full effect of the head wind. At Tod, myself, Lee and Phil made a move to distance ourselves. Phil was doing a grand job of leading for a mile or so but a couple of short steep hill later and Lee and I dropped him....unintentionally, its just when I looked back I couldn't see him. I really really hate leading anything, whether it we swim or bike as I think I'm going too slow for the guys or gals behind especially if they are keeping up. They could be busting a blood vessel or 2 to keep up but I would think they want me to go faster. I know Lee wanted a fast ride so set a good pace so that his day wasn't wasted. I wanted a nice leisurely spin to ease the legs after a good hard week....the things I do for others :P He also goes running on wed and kicks my arse so wanted to get my own back heheh.
Cragg soon came and if you remember I did it all standing up a couple of days ago so thought I'd try to repeat the feat depending on how my training partner was coping or vice versa. On the steeper sections I'd say standing up loses me 2-3 mph and a lot of energy but found once the ground flattened out I actually had a big advantage by standing. Lee told me not to wait although I was adamant that I would. Knowing he would be really pissed off if I didn't do what I was capable of I quickly forged a lead of around 70m, the early stages are quite steep and he managed to hold the gap at that for a kilometre or so. Still in the big ring, the' flatter' sections appeared about half way up. 11mph climbed to 13, 14, 15 ,16, 17, 18, 19 then 20 about 1 mile from Halifax road. Overtook a roadie. My gearing 53-11 wasn't big enough for my standing effort, the cadence would have to be sky high ( in standing terms) to go faster and max'd at 26mph. If I had my new computer I would loved to have known my cadence then. I waited for Lee where the Ice-cream van usually is during summer, felt like I was riding with Pantani again :) On the descent I took it carefully due to traffic lights and Lee insisted he led the rest of the way to the baths where he had left his car. Looked like he was putting a decent amount of effort in too.
Quite interesting to get a faster ride in. 44 miles with an average of 17.5mph ROUTE HERE. There's good scope for improving that average too due to riding with the 'peloton' for a while. Don't think they'd appreciate us going off like that, I think they were stopping in Hebden though. Cracking to see lots and lots of other roadies out today, gooo cycling!!!
I tried out some new gear today, some Aldi bib tights. Highly recommended. I got the ladies ones and when compared to the blokes they only come up a size smaller, the cut and pad are exactly the same I think. £12.99 a bargain. They have waterproof and windproof panels where needed,a good coolmax silver pad and are fleesey lined. I got a medium 28-30 waist and the leg was a little long and therefore slightly loose around the ankles ( I am a short arse) and the top a little short ( comfortably tight) but Im goona try on the small if I can find any. On my search for a small one I purchased a ladies fluorescent running rain jacket which folds to nothing and can store in my big saddle bag and have room for sandwiches if needed.
Its going to be another hectic training week with a fully booked schedule so no rest between now and the MCC track Championships on Sunday 20th Dec.