Thursday, 5 May 2011

Possibly......The Hardest 50miles I've ever done

Distance 50miles     Av Sp 18.1mph

Not done much the last week and a half due to the bad winds and being on a recovery cycle. The news today said the strong winds would die down so I stuck my 88mm Prolites on Scottie to see what difference wheels actually make. Didn't set the Garmin off to work as I was in a rush and managed only 10miles but arrived really early. I reckon it was under 30mins total journey time. It was freezing too!!! 40f.

It was about noon when I set off home, very sunny but deceptively cold. Wind chill? Headed North towards Bury and Rawtenstall and the flags were blowing across me suggesting and Easterly.Dried leaves swirling in little pools suggested what I was up against from the start but legs were strong today. It is all uphill for 25miles with little respites inbetween. I absolutely hammered it from the off. Speeds not as fast as I hoped due to the wind but still going at a nice pace. Drafting a little, unintentionally,   helped with averages but the effort was still there.

At the top I headed East and copped a big head wind from Rawtenstall.  Normal speeds of 20mph+ were reduced to 16mph and could have been a lot less f I hadn't been trying so hard. Up Bacup/Tod Road I realised the rest of the journey was downhill/flat so went close to all out. Although quite sheltered  near the bottom the leaves were being blown towards me.  Near the top was hell. I just wanted to get over the edge for the 'easy descent'. Once over the hill the conditions were worse. Head wind picked up and there were side gusts  attempting to swipe me off my bike. Usually 40mph quite attainable but just about 20mph. It looks really sheltered too with high 'cliff faces' either side.

Next up was a turn to face South. Guess what? Head wind again! Leaves blowing towards me as well as flgas. Not as bad as when facing East, able to maintain some speed but at a big cost. My legs were hurting. I was so tempted to turn around and get the benefit of a tail wind back to Rawtenstall but couldn't face going up Bacup Rd which reaches 16 % near the top.

Going West still managed to get gusts of a head wind! Flags going with me for a change but was being blown backwards too. I'd see the flags quickly turn in the opposite direction then back again. My mood was close to depressed with everything sucked out of my soul. Shaw Rd is quite possible the worst pot holed ridden rd ever and when I saw traffic built up I nearly cried. However I realised they are taking up the whole road and properly re-laying it all and that made me grin.

North, up Heywood Old Road saw more cross winds and had very little left only a couple more miles to home.

When I set off initially I was aiming for a 20mph average. I was actually quite happy 'only' doing 18.1mph. I have done the route in reverse, albeit more hilly and averaged 19mph easily. I didn't get a choice of starting point today though. Actually the 100miler a couple of weeks ago was soooo much easier than today. Double the distance, more than double the climbing and the same speed. Cramp is something I haven't suffered from for ages and only occurs when I go very hard for sustained periods and I was fighting it today.

I have used Schwalbe Ultremos R.1 with new cheapo innertubes and I haven't had a pucture in 4 days of riding! The ride quality has to be ridden to be believed. Sticking my neck out I'm going even as far to say they could be better than tubulars. The softness of the tyre flattens out rough surfaces but the life of the tyre could be very short indeed.

Since my last post I have done about 4 commutes but cant be bothered to post them now.

Tuesday was BIRCH 8 MILE TT day. TT bike time! I did a 10mile warmup then went home to change the bike as there was no way I could ride in aero position safely.  Wind picked up as the evening wore on.  Got to registration and the event  was cancelled due to some shitty traffic lights protecting a 1m by 1m hole  near the pavement.  Went home after another 10miles.

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