Sunday, 19 January 2014

Ride your own ride

15.5mph, heart rate 161bpm, battling into a headwind, feeling pretty miserable and then a member of the GB talent squad comes flying past and disappears into the distance like it's a perfect summers day, a memorable moment from my ride yesterday.

A firm reminder that when you're out on your bike, you're going to come across lots of people who are faster, fitter or lighter than you and to ride your own ride, within your own limits.

I'm riding in a specific heart rate zone during January, top of zone 3 to keep my fitness topped up.  It means that you have to pedal hard down hills to keep your heart rate up and slow right down when going up, which creates a yo-yo effect.  Interesting when you've flown past someone on a descent for them to then catch you up and pass you again on an ascent.

See the wind as your training partner

Yesterday was a really interesting ride.  Strong gusts of wind meant the going was really hard and arriving at my planned cafe stop, I was feeling pretty whacked, it had been a big effort for 25 miles.  I needed to have a word with myself about "manning up" for the second half.  It reminded me of a conversation I had with legend - Graeme Obree - who said "see hills and wind as your training partners."  Sound advice.

Heading out for the back half, I got the wind on my back and it was still at tough at times, but more manageable, I managed to lift the average speed to 16.5mph (26.4km/h).  Thing is, I'm glad I went out.  I try and put in a decent January to get some early miles in to set the tone for the year and that means rain, wind and some tough riding at times.  Still rule 5 applies, which Twitter follower @hardboiled2006 reminded me of, that set me up nicely.

Heading out today, it was like yesterday never happened.  Doing the same circuit in reverse, everything just seemed to click.  Arriving back home, my ride average was 18mph (28.8km/h), compared to yesterdays 16.5mph (+9%) with the same average heart rate.  Amazing how the same route on two different days can deliver such a different outcome.

Riding in inclement conditions is essential if you're going to keep your fitness, improve and build into the New Year.  Half of it is in your head, giving it some Jens - "shut up legs."

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