Sunday, 14 April 2013

See Wind as a Welcome Training Partner

The last time I rode in windy conditions like today was February time, a couple of years back, it inspired me to write this blogpost about riding in the wind.  It felt windy yesterday, however in an not hugely distracting, but you know it's there kind of way.  

Today was totally different.  As I rode out, I could feel power of the gusts.  In the first mile, it was such hard going, I thought about turning back.  At that moment, something Graeme Obree (cycling legend) said to me came into my mind - "see wind as a welcome training partner", I decided to push on and do three hours in the saddle, with no expectation as to what my ride speed might be.  The wind would act as additional resistance for endurance.

Yesterday, I did a hillier day in the saddle. As I step up my training for London to Paris, I'm now doing a lumpier ride on a Saturday, with a flatter recovery ride on a Sunday.  My legs were a little battle weary it has to be said and looking down at the Garmin, it showed 13.2mph for the first ten miles.  It was miserable, a block headwind with gusts of 35mph.  At times I was doing 17mph, then a gust would come and I'd be doing 11mph in less than a second or two. 

I'd decided to do a fifty miler today, with the first 25 heading into the wind, so I could get the benefit on the way home.  As I hit the lanes, I got a little more shelter and in the next 10 mile section my average speed increased to 16.5mph.  As I turned and started to head to home, I got more tailwind and the next three 10 mile blocks averaged 18.5mph, 19mph then 18mph.

The highlight of today was zooming through Tatton Park, where I picked up the speed to 35mph on the fast section from the Knutsford end, ably assisted by the tailwind.  It made all the suffering worthwhile!  In between that, at times I was learning twenty degrees into a sidewind or battling to keep the bars straight.

Turning towards home, I hit the headwind again and the last five or six miles was all about putting the grimace on and keeping the pedals moving.  To add insult to injury, I got a puncture about a mile from home - hey ho.

All in all, the overall ride came back a little quicker than I'd imagined given the conditions.  I'm glad I toughed it out and got some extra miles in for the weekend.  That's two weekends on the trot where I've managed to do 100 miles and it's pushed me over 1100 miles year to date, so I'm pleased to be catching up after the awful start to the year.

Today's Ride
Distance 49 miles (78km)
Avg. Speed - 16.2mph (25.9km/h)
Ascent - 1,972
Avg. HR - 143bpm (Zone 3.2 - Aerobic Endurance).
Ride Intensity (Ascent/Distance) = 40 (Medium/Undulating)

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