Sunday, 8 February 2015

My First Half-Century of 2015 - and I did it on snow tyres!

Still some traces of snow and ice up in Wendover Woods - good job I've got snow tyres on!
 Out for my Sunday morning training cycle, I did my first half-century for 2015.

So a nice, flat, few laps around an easy route?

I think not :-)

As I have mentioned before, I am training for this year's London to Brighton Bike Ride, and THAT course has a few hills on it ... so I need to train on some hills!

I am currently running snow tyres on Mermaid, having fitted them last Tuesday, and although they don't slow me down as much as some folks claim (especially when you pump them up to maximum recommended pressure), they do add an element of "resistance training".

I did quite a bit of snow-tyre training last year, and when I got on a bike with "proper" tyres again, suddenly everything seemed quite a bit easier :-)

If you don't have snow tyres, or don't want to buy some because you live in a "warm" part of the world, riding knobbly "mountain bike" tyres, especially if run them at modest pressure, will give you similar training benefits.

Anyway, onto the ride:
 A nice few bumps there, including a cat 3 climb (the first one) AND a category 4 climb, plus a sub-category climb between them, and a long, slow, climb, too (a 57 metre climb over 2.8 km)
Strava counts the "climbs" as totalling 583 metres, so that's February's climbing target covered in one go :-)

I stopped for a bite to eat up in Wendover Woods after the second ascent past the cafe.

As you can see in the picture, Mermaid is
running snow tyres (Marathon Winter)

Anyway, lots more training to get in in the next few months.
And if you don't think you are up to a 50km hilly route, then start with something simpler - just a 10km ride on the flat is a very good start!
The "core" of my training actually happened last January (2014) when I signed up for a "10-miles-a-day-and-no-excuses" challenge on a cycling forum. The first week was hard, but by the third week it seemed fairly easy :-)

So the "secret" to training is to keep at it.
Nothing more.
Train at a level that reflects your current fitness, and then just keep at it.

As for my ride, how did it go?
I still find the initial climb up from Green park Centre to the road at the top to be a struggle - I always go flat out on the hump-back bridge because the traffic lights don't really give a long enough "green" for a cyclist going uphill! And it is quite a "bump" over the bridge, too.
Onto the main climb up Aston Hill, the first bit from the main road at the bottom to the Golf Club is a bit steep for my current level of fitness, too. But I still managed it (just) twice on this trip. Then off through the woods, where the road paradoxically goes DOWN before a long couple of climbs to the top. I just about got up them, but I had to use the lowest gear (just 23.6") in places.
I found a new climb I haven't been up before, which is always nice. I've not been up Shire Lane before, but at 2.8km of 2% climb, it is a pleasant uphill ride rather than a tough slog!
I managed to frighten a couple of horses on Shire Lane - not sure if they were put off by my high-viz jacket (surely not, as their riders also had them) or whether there was an ultrasonic whine from my steel-studded snow tyres that they could hear better than me, or perhaps something else?
Who knows?
Then a fast ride down through Aston Clinton, and home for a bit of lunch!

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