Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Slowly slowly, catchy monkey ....

Having a hard time on the bike and hitting the usual mid year point by going backwards. 2,200 miles recorded come rain or shine, wind or hail, every mile is outside. Regards to going backwards, over training ? Wrong gearing ? Basically just shit on a bike ? No idea, but the evidence is there. I suspect that ultimately I did not put enough base miles in the can before I started riding hard and fast, or as fast as I can so to speak. The old British base miles are still the recipe to a good summer on the bike. Winter miles for summer smiles as they say. But, something else is odd. I genuinely feel tired in the legs and overly heavy legged which the usual post ride ablutions sort out, including rollers, baths and decent food. But I suspect I am simply just tired - I did 200 miles in 7 days over the last week and I am not as young as I once was. Rest is the order of the day and perhaps a change of outlook with less commute miles going into the mix. Commuting is a great start and end to the day, but it turns a 9 hour day into a 11 hour day and burns the energy, which needs to go back in.  Iron tablets will be bought.

All told, due to using 'power' I can analyse what is occurring and I have gone back to compact cranks (50/34) as anything else in Devon simply a ball ache and just too hard. Gone are my 53/39 days but such is life.  Somewhat oddly my cadence has dropped from 79 in April to 69 now. Surely a sign that I feel a bit spent though I have been hitting bigger hills and longer climbs which will always yield a lower turning speed when you have track legs. 10 rpm is huge though and I will see what is happening over the coming weeks.

So,  in light of this, I tried to simply just put some good miles in the tank Saturday and today and on Saturday I attained 62pbs and today 74pbs with a raft of golds, so it is in the mix somewhere, I just need to get oxygen to the legs as whilst I rode, there was not a great deal of snap.  Could be cheap inner tubes I suppose ;-)

Anyway, I read a great piece the other day about how 'amateur' cyclists like me and all the others are simply shit Sunday league footballers. Quite true that and I completely agree, though I would suggest that a decent pair of footy boots inherently cheaper than a 'good' to 'great' bike.

Fucking cycling. Take the rough with the smooth eh .... live fast die slowly or something like that.

Cheers drive - until next time ....

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Dartmare !!

So, to start I will advise that the blog title is tongue in cheek. Dartmoor can indeed be a Dartmare, but actually, it is a place I am learning more about riding wise and overall enjoying the test, which it undoubtedly is.  As I have said many times, it is unrelenting, sharp, steep, long, busy, but above all a great place to ride your bike once there and when the conditions curry favour.

We set off from Steve's house three up, which today included Mark, who is prepping for the Dartmoor classic - 100 miles of hill after hill. In isolation, each climb is doable, but when you string them together, it can be pretty hellish and very fatiguing on all body parts, legs, lungs, neck and shoulders. Today's highlight is a rapid and big improvement for me with reference to what is known as the Doccombe climb, a climb which equates to approx. 6 miles from Steps Bridge, peaking at Mortonhampstead. I shaved 9 minutes 30 seconds off the climb today which is born out fitness rather than profound weight loss.  It is a wonderful climb. Evidently the road was re-tarmaced for the tour of Britain. Smooth and as close as you'll get to a French col within the UK in my opinion. 

We had a quick brew in Morton where bike chat ensued with other cyclists outside the cafe and we were again on our way, slightly stoney legged after a stop. Mark took us across country on one of the Mid Devon secret rat runs, which in turn warranted gravel bikes !!! This brought us out on the base of Haytor, but at the far side, passing Hound tour before cresting Haytor from 600 feet up to 1300 feet approx. Much easier than the ride up from Bovey. All three of us rode 'down' Haytor full gas with Steve really letting his Dogma fly. Fearless. It really is a fast descent and riding smart required.  A bit like Burrington Coombe, but far more dangerous.

Interestingly, once out of Bovey, I started to feel very strong and the ride back from Haytor to Newton was great, I felt fit and lively after all the climbing and could have gone into TT mode for a while. In all, another great day on the bike in Devon. 43.6 miles, 3035 feet ascended and some lovely descents encountered too. The sun was out and on the whole the wind was a non issue. It is days like today we 'train' for. The first tan lines of summer have been cultivated on Devon's answer to Moordor. The bike's performed wonderfully, but in reality, there can be only one. Overall, getting around these hills a huge success. I had a third of the veins removed from my left leg 15 years ago and the right leg is as bad. It makes climbing harder than it should be or could be due to a lack of oxygen moving around in the old pins, but hey ho, life goes on.