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!
After several false starts and delays caused by snow and ice, I finally got out on my bike today for my first decent ride of the year – a healthy 26 miles although my average speed was pants.
It was very windy out there too, with an 18 mph headwind blowing along the seafront. But just like hill climbing, every cloud has a silver lining as it turned into an 18 mph tailwind on the way home.
And I had almost forgotten just how damn good I feel after a decent ride with a of those endorphins flooding my system!
With it being a beautiful Sunday morning and having just got my bike back from the bike shop with a new bottom bracket and tyres, a long ride was inevitable. And I am pretty pleased at having notched up 50 miles at an average moving speed of 15.3 mph. Bring on the London to Southend bike ride next weekend!
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Well, this was certainly a great weekend to be out on the bike. I managed to get out on both Saturday and Sunday and racked up 59 miles. I’m very pleased with that although my sit bones are complaining a bit.
I have also extended my usual training route from 25 to 33 miles by adding a bit to the beginning. Now the trick is to add 10% to the distance each week to get me to 74 miles in time for the Essex Orchid ride on 12 June.
The weather forecast wasn’t too bad, 10C, white cloud with the odd bit of sun, but I hadn’t reckoned on the wind. Blowing at a steady 24mph with gusts up to 34mph.
As soon as I turned onto the seafront I know it was a non-starter. Cycling into a headwind is one thing, but trying to ride in a straight line with the gusts blowing with the strength that they were was another. It was simply too dangerous. So I settled for a circuit of the Southend Bikeathon route.
Disappointingly short, but still a good ride.
One good thing though, I was as warm as toast and regretted having put a base layer on.
It felt good to be back in the saddle today after an enforced layoff due to snow, ice and illness. Quite a chilly morning with the temperature around 3C but at least no ice to be seen. And it didn’t take long to work up a sweat and stay warm as toast (with a thermal and windcheater base layer, overshoes and beanie 😉 ).
I probably shouldn’t have gone out while still recovering from bronchitis and with the temperature at 2C, but it was well worth it even if it was slow and I had to cut it short.