It was one of those days which made all the long, cold winter training rides feel worthwhile. Ironically, I was supposed to be racing the North Hampshire RC 19 mile TT this weekend, but it got called off due to continued flooding from the winter rain. It meant I could finally get round to riding the first ‘century’ of 2014.
At the start of the year, I’d planned to do a 100 mile ride every week as preparation for 100 mile TT and 12 hour, but, like many good intentions, it never happened – not even once. The furthest I’ve been in 2014, is about 80 miles. But, with the temperature creeping up to 20 degrees, it was a good a day as any. It was the first ride of the year in shorts, the first where suncream was needed, and the first without a winter jacket. Since it was a day of firsts and I didn’t need a winter jacket, I took the national hill climb jerseys for its first outing. Though rather inappropriately I spent the first 40 miles plodding along remorselessly flat roads towards Chinnor and Wendover. I wanted to do some new climbs and new roads so I headed East over to Ivinghoe and Whipsnade. It’s a bit further out that usual, but it was good to get some new roads in. I climbed up Ivinghoe ridge, Whipsnade hill, Aldbury hill, Aston Hill (Wendover) and finished off with Whiteleaf and Wardrobes. I could have done more hills, but I didn’t want to overdo it. I’m off to Yorkshire next week, and would like to try ride some of the Tour de France stages.
Compared to earlier in the week, I felt good. Although I wasn’t going full pelt up the hills, there seemed to be more power in the tank than at any other time of the year. I have an unscientific theory, that if the temperature goes over 20 degrees, I can ride at least 1mph / 20 watts faster.
As it was the first six hour ride of the year, I was paying more careful attention to carbohydrate consumption. I will do a post soon about optimal energy intake for long rides. It’s one thing to know the theory, but it’s another thing to actually do it. I’ve realised eating and even drinking on the bike (especially a time trial bike) is actually quite hard work, which breaks the rhythm and requires a bit of discipline to actually do.
Despite a near perfect day, there was quite a strong wind. I rode into the SE wind on the way out, in case I blew up. It meant it was rather nice to finish off with a 10 mile blast along the old A40 with a huge tailwind pushing me along at 25mph, (which felt good with 90 miles in the legs. )
On the way out was handwork, but I took TT bike, to try and get used to long hours in the saddle and it does help cutting through the wind.
Saddle comfort was amazing. A combination of Assos Unos and the Adamo saddle meant I hardly noticed any discomfort. It really is a revelation.
I managed six hours on the TT bike OK, though I didn’t spend all the time on the tribars. I’m still uncertain how people manage 12 hours in full TT position. But, to get a six hour ride on TT bike is a good start.
It was a really great ride. It’s always nice when you can finally bare the legs to the elements; there’s a definite psychological boost. It was also good to know that an extra two hours wasn’t too much of a leap from other four hour rides. With good feeding, I felt relatively strong until last five miles, where I purposely took it easy. It was strange to ride through Tring a couple of times. It’s the location of a fast (downhill) 10 mile TT, but in a way a 100 mile ride with lots of good hills (about 1,900 metres) is more satisfying than a 10 mile blast along a dual carriageway. I saw plenty of cyclists on the road enjoying the spring weather.