Sunday, 15 July 2012

Up we go ....

A day of climbing today. 4600 foot of it in fact which locally is good upward miles but after watching the Tour day in day out, I have to say is rather irrelevant and well, not much considering what the peloton are climbing. Mountains, not hills. But, I suppose it is all relative and given I am not a pro, this 80 mile bimble around the Mendips for is good enough for anyone, talented or not.

Todays route took these climbs in this order;

1. Belmont Hill.

2. Brockley Coombe.

3. Burrington Coombe.

4. Cheddar.

as well as rolling around Chew Valley Lake on that god awful road that cir-cum navigates it.

Belmont and Brockley were straight forward mainly high cadence climbing sat down. A nice ride to Clevedon and across Kenn Moor split the two climbs. When I hit Burrington after riding 'down' the rather poor and fear inducing A38, I decided after looking up the hill to keep it in the big ring and rode all the way up on the outer ring. When the road took another gradient up I applied my 10 in the saddle 10 out the saddle routine and no problems at all. Le Tour has given me new perspective on my climbing and if a slow tempered rhythm is good enough  for Wiggins than it will do just fine for me.

Just before the brow of the last bend two younger riders dropped me, both spinning up, riding a good tempo. Jokingly I told them both to man up and get in the big ring to which we all laughed though due to them being skinny whippets they dropped me good and proper. But, not for long. Cresting over the top I noted that they were looking back, working two up, so I fucking went for it and dropped the hammer down. I felt like Vino from Astana, hauling in them in, my big legs pumping full gas, closing meter by meter inch by inch. I stormed past the first lad at 30 mph on the flat and commended him on his efforts but he was shaking his head and was blown. I then locked onto his co-rider and stormed past him too and again relentlessly kept the hammer down on the small gradient along the top of Cheddar before peeling off right for the stunning descent into Cheddar.  Fit at 40. Nice.

Down into Cheddar where I had a solitary cake stop and a coffee before setting off again for another big climb. I felt empty on Cheddar despite knocking back two coffees and was three minutes slower than in the week though again it threw up no issues, I just rode slower. So much traffic today too....

At the top I went across to Chew, turned right headed for Bath via the fast Timsbury road and went into Keynsham up Bath road and home after stopping at my brother Jeffs place for tea which was nice.

Whilst my blog is academic, moot, mostly pointless, I think and feel that 4600 feet of climbing is not a massive amount, nor is it hard to some, but given my sprinters frame, some hills are tougher than others and today, whislt I enjoyed it was all about getting the hills ticked off as Le Pip is getting ever closer and that is twice the height in climbs over the cusp of the Black Mountains in Welsh Wales. In a word it is hellish, but I am looking forward to it as that is why we ride bikes.

You have to feel the pain to be a bike rider and days like today make it all worthwhile. I was hurting at the end.

Oh and one last thing. Todays head-wind was relentless. I felt like the nail today. The wind was the hammer. Thanks Gulf Stream, thanks.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Cheddar and back again ....

Another bimble down to Cheddar today with a tea stop once there. Rob and I were out and was nice to have a relaxed ride after Sundays full gas ride. I felt OK, legs not as good as Sunday but back at work now so to be expected. Sun was out, cake consumed. We hooned up Cheddar, I nailed a PB and Rob monstered up it. Rightly so given he has just come back from a cycling holiday in France where climbs make Cheddar look like what it is to Euro bike riders; a bump. Have to say, those who know me know I am not a climber, but I really enjoy riding up Cheddar. So much so I could do it every day. It is a lovely road and does feel like the middle of nowhere - more so today given it was the middle of the week and quieter than a Sunday when everyone including car drivers and bike riders descend upon Cheddar and the Mendips as a whole.

Overall a decent day out there. I lapped Cheddar on the Garmin as just over three miles in 17 minutes, average speed 11 mph going up, which is nice as I am happy with that. Rob was long out of sight, but I big ringed it to steep corner, dropped some other lads before dropping into the inner chain ring. I felt good, but there were traffic lights bang on steep corner which was mad. Luckily they were green so I did not have to endure a 19% hill standing track start....

On the way back in Rob and I exhanged bikes and I had a blast on his Cervelo R3. Some bike, stiff, fast and very plush. He felt likewise to my SL4 but we noted my higher tyre pressure made the bike seem slightly more brittle, but I do like big psi in my tyres. Heading back in we had a little dig and I had a 75% sprint which I wound up to 37 mph. I am looking forward to getting a Saturday social ride in with Strada and winding up a big effort on the sprints as it has been a while since I have let the powers that be know and recall who Bristol's top sprinter is ;-)

Anyway, love to all as ever.