Sunday, 21 March 2010

Happy Feet

After last weekend's ride I was going to take it relatively easy this week. Monday and Tuesday were rest days which I hate taking even though I'm sure it will do me good.

Wed,Thurs and Fri I cycle to and from work and as its relatively short I try to go as hard as possible.
On Wednesday I was still in my winter gear and went out of the door straight into a blowing head wind. So from 20mph normally to 17mph on the way in but achieved 17.5mph on the way home where there was no wind and was close to my personal best.
Thursday saw the same head wind but averaged 18mph this time into work but coming home from work at 1 in the morning the air is quite still but with a slight tail wind. I absolutely flew up the hills and although still getting stopped around 3-4 times at lights I averaged an amazing 18.8mph. I suddenly felt much much stronger on steep inclines and even in the head wind I can finally feel the power being transferred to the road. This seemed to be a problem I kept having on the flats/descents but the force I can put down with zero discomfort is really giving me a boost.
Friday I took the summer stuff out, shorts and shirt and the wind had died down a bit but more of a cross. Attained a respectable 20mph on the way in. I did think Thursdays ride home was a bit of a fluke so was determined to beat it. The inclines were tough as usual but managed a max of 20mph on Rochdale Rd climb about 3.8miles in on the map and 15mph at the top of Wood st where I have usually collapsed at 6.8 miles in. Final average was 19.5mph with 2 traffic light stops and all uphill more or less. This was in the wet and minimal wind.

Seems to be remarkable progress which I can measure from feeling it in the legs and average speeds. I am putting it all down to warmer weather, summer clothing so cooler and sweat evaporates quicker and drinking 2 pints of milk after each ride and inbetween. I have been drinking gallons of the stuff, the red top and sometimes orange top. I wonder if the doughnuts with the milk is part of my elixir.


For once it wasn't the wifey that spoilt my plans for the day which were to ride to Mossley and ride with the fast gang that Jack had introduced me to.The night before I had chicken curry and rice and that was going to be it until the end of the ride. I set off 8am and drank a pint of milk and a coffee but took some chocolate egg with me just in case. I took it very easy to save all my energy for the quick ride that was inevitable. On the way, past Failsworth, I passed Dan-Bo and another fellow cycle chatter going in the opposite direction and gave a quick greeting. On Coal-pit lane I finally had my first true puncture. Ive had pinch flats and backup if needed but I was alone this time. It was the front tyre a 20mm V.Rubino. OMG could I get the tyre off?? NOOO!!! not for a good half an hour. In the mean time lots of cyclists and runners had gone by and offered help which I declined, trying to prove my macho worthiness to myself. To be honest I dont think they could have helped with this terror. Eventually I somehow prised the tyre off and extracted the offending piece of glass with my raw fingers. Managed to fit the new tube fine but needed the tyre levers again to force the tyre on the rim. I knew my crappy little mini pump would come in handy some time which I used to check that the innertube was seated properly and I hadn't damaged the new tube. Once the test was passed I got out the heavy weaponry in the form of co2 pump as recommended by lost sheep. The cannister screwed in with little force, I pushed the valve on the presta connector, unlocked the fire button and pulled the trigger. Psssssst, white powder flew everywhere but the tyre was rock solid in less than a second. Fantastic! I had very nearly phone the father in law to pick me up and once the tyre was sorted nearly turned around but still had 20mins to meet up with the gang so carried on.

There was a blustery tail wind which meant I could go fast yet still take it easy. I was hoping I would see them come in the opposite direction but there was no sign of them,even at Mossley. I went to Greenfield and up and down Lees road into Oldham and from there to the moors at Saddleworth which was a long climb. The descent brought me out to Newhey and Milnrow and the steep short section at Kiln Lane which I murdered for a change 11mph and not a point below. In Littleborough I saw a guy from Rochdale Tri club. I then decided to go up Blackstone Edge to see how my legs were really feeling. The climb was interrupted by 2 sets of traffic least I wasn't going down past them! Apart from the stops I didn't drop below 10mph but then realised I had quite a nice tail/cross wind. Still good going. At the top I saw Dan from the tri club, absolutely loads of cyclists out today.Across and down Cragg I had the biggest tail wind ever and hit 40mph very quickly. I had to pedal at a cadence of 130 to achieve this but halfway down I saw my mate Lee ( who I rode with on last Sunday) so stopped and turned around and joined him UP Cragg. Was having a good natter and went DOWN Blackstone edge being stopped twice by those bleedin' lights and killing the speed.
Lee left me to go back home and I turned towards Walsden and Tod. Bit of a head wind but I was putting the power down quite effectively. In Hebden I looked all over the show for the cafe that Rochdale Tri club usually go to but since my memory is crap it took a good 10mins. The Tri club were there but not the big hitters. They were ready to leave but I managed to sup a coffee and a slice of toast (only had a £20 note) in record time to set off with them to Sowerby and beyond. We didn't go up Cragg but carried on further and up some humongous climbs. The pace was leisurely but at the start of the first climb I blasted off, waited at the top and was going to do the same at the biggest and longest climb but the head wind was exceedingly bad. The others took shelter behind me until I began to pull away and only Jack remained ( who didn't ride with the Mossley lot either) I wasn't sure where I was but suddenly found myself going down Blackstone Edge again. I left the others as I was on the home leg now. I joined them to pass the time as I get bored riding alone even though my averages were hit then suddenly Jesus!!! those traffic lights again!!!!
The head wind was as strong as ever and my legs were really pushing through it. The last 15miles I gradually increased the average as if the wind wasn't there.

For the last 3 months my knee hasn't been affecting me at all, I have been concentrating higher cadence which saves the legs so I can do the longer distances easily. The last week though, using the bigger gears I can feel the knee go a little and is a real shame as I might have to tone the training down.

Average 17.4mph
Distance 90 miles
Ascent 6300ft


  1. 90miles with 6400ft of climbing, wow!

    I seriously need to get out into the hills. I'm still avoiding them.