All that I have read about the coast to coast ride says that there is a lot of climbing. It has a total ascent of well over 8,000 feet. On the first day alone, I will climb around 1,400 feet. Now the thing I enjoy least, apart from cycling into a headwind, is climbing. Now and then I ask myself why I am doing the ride. And then quickly remind myself, ‘for the bucket list challenge of course’.
The best training for climbing is hill reps. “What’s that?” you ask. Quite simply, it’s just aimlessly cycling up a hill, going back down it and then turning around to ride back up it again! I’m starting this off easy and having selected a hill near to where I live, which is quite hard in Essex, I have started out doing 5 hill reps at a time and will then increase the number each time. I also plan to drive out to somewhere more challenging like North Hill in Little Baddow which climbs up nearly 300 feet with a couple of short ramps up to 9% gradient.
But I need to put in a lot more work before then. The hill I am using has an average gradient of 4.4% and a maximum of 8.7%.
The first training ride saw each of my reps being progressively slower than the one before it. And what was really depressing was that I was 12 seconds faster nine years ago. Still, I was younger then and can only improve right? Right!