As you may have noticed there has been no blog updates for a couple of weeks from me and that's simply cos I've been slightly ill but I'm nearly back to normal now and looking forward to a full weekend of planned cycling activity. So down to the w/e's nitty gritty...
Saturday's ride with the North Cheshire Clarion
Saturdays flat ride was a great way to test my fitness in preparation for the Sunday Anniversary ride and I thought it went well with no ill affects other than an oddly high max heart rate and that was probably down to an incident with an idiotic Maxda MX5 driver (or so I thought, read Sundays exploits) and the least said about that the better as it spoilt an otherwise pleasant ride. Not much in the way of hills just lots of flat and the 13 of us out on the ride rode in a mostly tight pack for the duration with some pleasant chat on the way in slightly cool but dry weather.
23 miles, Av Speed 14.8mph, 634 ft climbing (Garmin) max HR 184
Today's ride was a special one as it marked the first year anniversary of the forming of the North Cheshire Clarion. The route was a mixed bag with flat giving way to hilly in the Crowton, Delamere and Frodsham areas. Eighteen of us set out from Stretton into the promise of rain which materialised in earnest later on into the ride. Early on nothing much of significance occurred other than I hit the deck after a fellow clarionist had a clipless moment at a junction resulting in him falling sideways onto me knocking me over, sore elbow now writing this, can I sue ;-)
As I said it was flat Cheshire lanes until we crossed Acton bridge on the A49 then a right turn onto the first significant hill of the day and as usual I took it at my own moderate pace and felt OK with no problems other than a slight shortness of breath which I suppose isn't unusual for anyone climbing a hill so thought no more of it. The next hill was a repeat of the last but of slightly longer length and that was it regarding hills until after the stop at the Delamere Station cafe where we were due to meet up with our mountain biking brethren at 11am, however due to an early puncture we arrived 15 minutes late to find that the mountain bikers, all five of them were waiting at the other cafe 50 yards further on down the lane but we all managed to get together in the end as you can see from the above photograph.
Another puncture as were about to set off resulted in hanging around getting cool and then we were off. There was talk of some taking short cuts to get home as time was really pushing on. Young Martin turned left at Hatchmere crossroads to carry on with the as planned ride so I went with him and everyone else went either right or straight on at the crossroads. Fantastic I thought as now there was just the two of us and as Martin is the Theo Walcott of the cycling world we could set some good speeds but you know what it's like after an extended cafe stop and setting off again into a cool day, how your legs feel like lead until they've warmed up again? Well mine was just like that and as the miles went on my legs did not warm up in fact they got worse when we hit the hills around Delamere and Frodsham. As the rain bucketed down I felt rather bad, I had no strength for the hills and my HR was in the 160-170 range on any flats we came across never mind the hills, something is not right and in places - most places I was down to a crawl whilst Martin just powered up the hills. The last five miles or so back to Stretton was a real killer, I told Martin to go ahead as I was really slowing him down but he wouldn't leave me and rode with me all the way back to Stretton, ta Martin.
I really thought that with a successful Saturday ride I would be OK for the much hillier Sunday ride and clearly I was very wrong, I should have taken note of my eleveted HR and regarded it as the warning sign that it was and that my fitness levels were in fact following the pattern of prior times after illness on the first ride back where I max out my HR with very little effort and feel like puking my guts up . Now according to this pattern I will rapidly improve, lets just hope I will be recovered enough to allow me to ride a planned Audax in two weeks, the 'Season of Mists' on the 3rd October with 2550 metres of climbing (roughly 8500 ft)
44 miles, Av Speed 14.4 mph, 1797 ft climbing (Garmin) max HR 184
Photos from today's ride