At the moment, I’m riding without a plan – and it’s quite an enjoyable experience.
During August, September and October it was all tightly structured intervals. November is the complete opposite, unstructured and no intervals. As mentioned previously, I find myself riding around at 15-16mph wondering how on earth do you manage to come back from a ride with an average of over 17 mph.
Riding around Otmoor, I saw a mini chain gang of four riders hammering it on a late November afternoon. The guy on the front was on a time trial bike, giving it some welly. I felt no desire to latch on the end.
I kept my steady pace. But after three weeks of nothing more than level II, I was curious to remember what it was like to go hard up a hill. On the way up to Brill from Oakley I decided to give it a go. For the first five seconds it was a bit of a buzz as you remember the speed and effort of cycling fast up steep hills. But, after 10 seconds it was also a reminder of the great effort needed; it felt painfully slow. I dragged the winter bike up in a respectable time, but it was nothing to get too excited about. Racing feels along way away.
In a way, winter is a good balance to the preceding months. It’s like slow recovery rides are a good balance to hard intervals. Similarly a couple of months of just accumulating miles is a good balance to the work dedicated on the top end. Usually in January, I might consider different training methods, and more higher end work. But, that is always much easier to do when you have a good solid aerobic base.
Having said that – a good day of weather yesterday encouraged me to give my summer bike – the Trek Madone a final farewell fling before winter retirement in the loft. I’m not sure if it was the bike, weather or I was just bored of plodding. But I kept a very respectable pace all the way to Henley and back, averaging a very commendable November average speed of 18mph for the 55 miles. It still gave me time to think about the National Hill Climb splits. I’m not sure which is most impressive, how slowly I went up first half or how quick I went up the second half. As Jimmy Hill used to say on the BBC Match of the day – It’s a game of two halves, Gary’.
I am in real mile munching mode at the moment. nearly 800 miles for November already and it doesn’t really feel like I’m training. Though I’ve been going very slowly up hills, I still can’t wait for next years hill climb season!
There is a virtual prize for any local rider who can identify the locations of the two roads. I would struggle and I took the photos