Sunday, 25 April 2010

North Cheshire Clarion club run 25 April 2010

Today's highlight was a cobbled lane somewhere near Alderley Edge called Bradford Lane. Thirteen of us set off from Stretton at 9 am heading out to the Wizard Tea Rooms via this Bradford Lane. Heading out we set off at a good easy pace of 16-19 mph on a mild dull day with the promise of some rain later on in the morning. With this in mind I left the Scott plastic bike at home and brought out my heavier aluminium Focus.

Today could provide a fine opportunity to settle a question I have in my mind
, after the experience of the last few weeks I have to finally acknowledge that my climbing has improved somewhat and today could give me some sort of indicator as to whether it's due to the change of bike from an aluminium to a much lighter carbon bike or it's improved fitness or perhaps it's both that accounts for my alleged increased form. More about that later...

So back to the ride. Eventually we hit the cobbles of Bradford Lane, it's not a steep hill just a gradual rise but the lane is rutted and worn with a fair few uneven very prominent cobbles to contend with, needless to say you have to pick your line with care with the central higher line being the wiser choice for much of the mile long lane. Until today I could only imagine what it must be like to pound the cobbles of the Paris Roubaix; you see them on the TV bouncing around everything shaking and that was us today but on a slower speed scale. At one point I tried to see what speed we were riding at but everything was a big blur making it impossible to read my bike computer readout, I guess we were travelling at a modest 8 mph at the most. It's all going ok, we're picking our line bouncing our way up the lane but approx three quarters of the way up, cobbles gave way to a sandy dirt track much more suited to mountain bikes with big fat tyres and not the skinny ones we were riding so eventually we had to get off and walk to the top.

After the cobbles came The Wizard Tea Rooms and the trip home, the sky had looked threatening for a long time and I was hoping we would make it home before it rained however with just a few miles from home the heavens finally opened and we got wet, very wet...

So to summarise, today was a good flatish ride with only a couple of hills, a cobbled lane (which I don't think we will ever ride again on road bikes), slightly stale cake at the Wizard and to finish off we got a drenching.

Getting back to my climbing. As I said I was on my heavier aluminium bike so today could reveal whether it's me or the bike and I'm pleased to say that Lance was right, it's not about the bike it's all about me (well he didn't actually say it's about me but you know what I mean). Granted today there were no long or steep hills however we have ridden some of this route previously including the few short hills we came across and I managed them at a greater pace and finished fresher than the last time I rode them so something good is starting to click with me, but what could it be, what can account for my improvements? Well for one thing my training has been reduced since I stopped doing the Chris Carmichael thing, what I now do is a club run on the Sunday then a 2 x 20 minute workout on Wednesday and a commute or another workout on Friday so only three times on the bike during the week; not a lot compared to the 6 to 8 hours and a minimum of 4 times on the bike that I was putting in doing the Chris Carmichael Time Crunched Cyclist plan. So with that thought in mind, could it be the extra rest I'm getting between workouts particularly the two days after the Sunday club run that's allowing me to recover better between workouts therefore making me stronger or is it the fact I'm now training with a 2 x 20 minute workout once or twice a week rather than the intricate Carmichael workouts? Or perhaps both? whatever it may be I think for now at least I will stick to the training I'm currently doing, you know what they say - if it ain't broke don't try and fix it...

My Stats
50.02 miles, 3hrs 19min, Av Speed 15.1 mph, 1416ft climbing (Bikehike)


  1. I went to look at a car somewhere along one of those cobbled roads at Audley last week. I can't remember a hill being involved but the road was sufficiently rough enough to encourage me to park at the bottom and walk up the road.

    I will have to give the 2x20mins thing a go if it makes a difference. I'm going slower and slower just recently.

  2. Reading your blogs I can't believe you need any training ;)