21.5 miles, 1hr24min, Av Speed 15.4mph, Av/Mx HR 146/171
After the cafe stop came a puncture, a few more hills and another puncture. The highlight of the day for me was seeing someone have a clipless moment, it's not funny I know but it's like hearing someone accidentally fart - it's funny but it shouldn't be and it creases me up every time. One moment he was upright, cycling very slowly waiting for the group to make a decision as to which way we were to go then all of a sudden 'TIMBER!!!' he's on the ground still clipped in - it's childishly hilarious to see it happen, although I really shouldn't laugh because I can't claim to be clipless moment free - It's happened to me twice with the first being the most embarrassing, I came to a T junction waiting to turn left only to be stopped from pulling out of the junction by white van man and then yes you guessed it I had forgotten to unclip before the junction so I slowly toppled onto the verge, I couldn't get my foot out in time to stop the fall. Highly highly embarrassing especially when I caught a glimpse of white van men laughing their socks off...
So all in all a good ride and a good route. When the weather improves this route will be glorious, I look forward to the time I can do this route with the heat on my back and wearing my proper shades which incidentally were in my car after all, hidden in plain view on the dashboard - what a numpty...
My Stats 39.4 miles - 2hrs 30 min - Av Speed 15.7 mph - 1624 ft climbing
Hi Mark - That was slick! We're just doing a few tweaks to the website getting ready for entries opening on Sunday and you crept in and only went and entered the Cheshire Cat. We opened entries for a few moments. Don't worry, you are in OK but hold the unique accolade of entering before entries actually open.Lol, at the very least I can say that I came first in the Cat, certainly not on the ride itself but definitely in something.
So we (myself & Phil) resorted to our own devices and old habits setting off for our usual cafe stop at the Ice Cream Farm near Tattenhall. By old habits I mean finding hills to climb and once climbed then riding at a fair old whack to the next hill. Now in our locality there are hills to climb if you look for them, there is a spine of hills ranging from Frodsham in the north through Helsby and finishing around Willington in the south and our usual route takes us through these areas - deliberately of course simply because not too long ago I in particular was crap on hills and the general advice for improving your hill climbing ability is simple - ride them thar hills, seek out and conquer them. A year on I have improved somewhat, not as much as I would have liked but all the hills I at one time walked up in this area are now conquered every weekend. I'm not saying I'm a mountain goat able to just waltz up em, no, I take the hills at my own slow pace, sometimes out of the saddle more usually in the saddle and in my lowest gear.
Old habits die hard they say and yes they do, but what we have come to understand is that your body mind and spirit needs rest, you cannot continuously go at it 100% all year round, you need to back off and give yourself chance to rest and heal. I have bought a few books over the last year or so looking for training regimes in particular and what I have generally found is that these books are designed for serious 'athletes' who have at least 8 hours per week to spare for training. I have found that my body atm cannot cope with that amount - that's over training to me complete with colds and sleeping problems but in saying that, in these programmes defence - I have not tried to follow them - I just know that going 'at it' as I have done in the past for 8hrs a week wipes me out and is defo no fun - not that these books endorse 'going at it', far from it, I have to sit down read them thoroughly, stick to the plan and make them work for me
Anyway I aim to get some serious training in for next years Sportives so I bought myself 'The Time Crunched Cyclist - Fit, Fast and Powerful in 6 Hours a Week' by Chris Carmichael to help me along. It sounds ideal for me, I'm not a racer nor is my goal to ride some huge foreign Sportive - although that would change if I could pass the required medical. I'm the weekend warrior with a few domestic sportives in the pipeline who enjoys his riding and wants to improve.
This book makes good reading, Carmichael goes into some detail about the theory behind his workouts. He details four different training programmes depending on your goals. He has you go through a 'field test' to determine your average max heart rate or power before you start any of these programmes then gives you a series of ratios to workout the various HR zones or power zones you will be working in. What I have now learnt from working out my zones is that I have gone out too hard every time I have ridden my bike - I have been working at too high a HR for way way too long and that cannot be doing me any good.
So back to old habits and all that, we (myself & Phil) discussed before this ride that following the advice from this book we should be doing 'EMs' - Endurance Miles before starting one of the training programmes which meant taking it easy and avoiding the hills to keep the HR down contrary to our normal habits of 'going for it'. My HR max although not tested properly (i'm no masochist) has peaked at 191 bpm so working out the ratios I need to keep my HR below 150bpm and that is not easy on the hills we needed to ride to get to our cafe stop.
So that was the 'story' behind this ride - keep that HR down even if it meant being overtaken by grandma on her zimmerframe. I think we were mostly successful, for much of the ride we were able to keep to less than 150bpm but of course when we hit the hills our HR's did go up to 160bpm at times, can't be helped on this route I'm afraid, we will just have to work out a few more flat routes for future rides...
Distance 44.14 miles - Duration 3:25 - Av Speed 12.9mpg - Climbing 2000ft - Av HR 143bpm
Myself and Phil drove out to the designated meeting point outside of the Cat & Lion pub in Stretton for the 9am start time. After the hello's all eight of us set off for a nice steady loop south and east of Stretton for the NCC's inaugural road ride. It wasn't long before we had another first of the day - the first puncture which happened somewhere between Antrobus and Budworth Heath. Once that was sorted we set off again on some easy roads heading towards our cafe stop at the Dunham Lavender Farm tea rooms near Altincham. Not knowing how many more miles we were to ride that day we both had some food, beans on toast - lovely stuff. Anthony the cheeky bugger obviously envious of our choice of warm food deviously schemed to separate us from our beans by telling us that somebody was shouting us from the gates in the vain hope we would go and investigate, but we were wise to his ruse and he failed in his dastardly plot to knick our beans...
Setting off from the tea rooms for the final leg the weather didn't look too healthy so I stuck my gillet on just in case - it was a wise decision (ish). Not long after setting off the heavens opened and it lashed down, my gillet kept my torso dry for a really long time - say all of 15 seconds before the cold insidious rain found it's way in. I didn't mind my torso getting wet - no I lie, I did mind but what I mind more is when you feel that cold watery trickle first of all getting into your shoes and then to make matters worse it slowly trickles its way down into your nether regions, you know it's going to happen, you feel the cold icy watery fingers slowly zooming in, but it's still a shock when it does...
Anyway despite the rain we all plugged on like brave little soldiers and after 10 minutes or so the rain eased off, hooray for small mercies. The rest of ride was pretty uneventfully, some of us started to feel the miles and in places we stringed out a little but a shout of 'tail' had us slowing down so we could all regroup, and that was that, we were home, back at Stretton, the inaugural ride of the North West section of the National Clarion was over.
The ride itself was mostly at a nice easy pace. In the early part of the ride my heart rate was at times around 120bpm and that is low for me but the ride did get a little faster as time went on and we did manage to find a couple of 'bumps' along the way. I enjoyed it, it made a change to ride with a group, great to chat with everyone on the way and hopefully a sign of good things to come.
Anyone looking for a friendly bunch to ride with will be well advised to join up with the NCC.
Distance 34.5miles - Time 2:16 - Avg Speed 15.2mph - Climbing 1138 ft