....and I will become 'invincible'. The past few months,during my commutes, I have been concentrating on keeping a high a cadence as possible as I was led to believe it was the best way to cycle or I may have interpreted it wrong. Whilst doing so I've noticed the power in my legs decrease to the point where on every hill I had to stand to get me to the top with any kind of speed. 'Chain free' days hadn't happened for a long time :( A light bulb moment happened during the 'Season of Mists' Audax.
The young kid I was riding with from 'Penine Cycles' seemed to have the power in the legs I used to possess not all that long ago. Every incline he seemed to be purposefully grinding up, the effort looking immense and he was flying but I got the impression it was a training specific ride. On the other hand there was myself, out of the saddle, doing remarkably well as I couldn't generate the power in the saddle. 'BANG' it hit me from somewhere. Why was I doing so well out of the saddle? Because that's all I had been training to do! If I wanted a chain free day I would have to train for a chain free day.
Week Commencing 2nd October, after the Audax I decided to put my plan into place starting from the Wednesday. Reading on forums that a good way to train is to whack it into a big a gear as possible and go up hills, that's what I did but also tried it on the flats. This method hurts.....alot. Sometimes your body goes through the pain barrier and it subsides, other days you fight it 'til the end. Its not a'' bad pain but a 'good' pain that doesn't injure as Cancellara described in a DVD I watched a few nights ago. Not the best week to try it as the wind was very bad this and the next week. The first day was hard and was used as a recovery ride, the wind was that bad. Felt totally crap from the Audax but things picked up pace from there. Cadence dropped big time into the 70's and it even felt slower than that most times. I was able to pace myself ( I am very good at that) and keep the effort going for the full 40+ miles each day - strictly no out of the saddle stuff allowed.
To be honest I wasn't expecting to see any results so soon but from the 2nd day I could feel the power returning as the sessions went by, speeds being nice and high, and this culminated in a 'chain free' day on Tuesday 11th October! What a feeling. You feel like you can push any high gear really hard without much ill effect, the only limiting factor was my breathing/Hr. When I started the Garmin failed to start as I was in pitch black as I thought I pressed the button. 2 miles later I had to started her up. Flying along I knew I had to make the most of it so instead of the 20miles I did 25miles and instead of the usual 'flattish', mostly up hill route I chose one with some 'long' steep climbs! ( for a commute and compared to what I usually do) - yes not just the one steep climb. So in reverse order, here are the commuting stats.
Tuesday 11th October
To Home Distance 25miles Av Sp 21.6mph Asc 1000ft Hr 158 Cad 75 - ChainFreeDay
To Work Distance 20miles Av Sp 21.3mph Asc 587ft Hr 160 Cad 76 - Really Hurt
To get the right effect of the climbing involved press the + magnification on the elevation chart as it doesn't look so impressive as it is. The big downhill near the end had a few traffic light slowdowns too.
Saturday 8th October
To Work Distance 20miles Av Sp 21.0mph Hr 146 Cad 69
To Home Distance 20miles Av Sp 21.2mph Hr 158 Cad 74
Friday 7th October
To Work Distance 20miles Av Sp 21.1mph Hr 147 Cad 69
To Home Distance 20miles Av Sp 21.3mph Hr 156 Cad 76
Thursday 6th October
To Home Distance 20miles Av Sp 18.6mph Hr 133 Cad 68
To Work Distance 20miles Av Sp 20.0mph Hr 149 Cad 76
Wednesday 5th October
To Work Distance 20miles Av Sp 17.8mph Hr 130 Cad 72
To Home Distance 20miles Av Sp 19.3mph Hr 145 Cad 76