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