Sunday ride – 50 miles and the importance of nutrition

Today I discovered what happens when you get the nutrition side of cycling horribly wrong.  I needed to get back by a certain time to go to the match and so I set my alarm very early for a Sunday morning.  In fact I couldn’t face getting up any earlier so I basically got up, forced an energy bar down and then set off.  Within 5 miles I knew I was in trouble.  My legs felt heavy and I wasn’t up for it at all.  I’d planned my ride to go up to Rossendale, taking a right up to Bacup and then over the hill down to Todmorden and through Hebden Bridge.  Then a right up through Crag Vale to the White House on the peak at Littleborough and down via Hollingworth Lake, Rochdale, Heywood and home.

The route I’d planned contained two big climbs.  Not particularly steep but long.  The first would start at about 500ft and climb up to over 1250ft over a period of 6 miles.  The second would be virtually 1000 ft of climbing over 5.5 miles.  So I’m not even at the first climb and feeling bad, and thinking about seriously shortening the ride.  At that moment I was thinking about the issues I would face on the actual ride itself and I figured that I needed to keep going simply to put more “miles in the bank”.  Every bit of training I do now will, in the long run, be beneficial.  I got to Bacup and started up the long climb.  I was onto the small ring at the front pretty much straight away as I ground my way up the hill.  Surprisingly, as I got towards the top I started to feel better, and at the summit itself I stopped and had a celebratory energy gel before I launched myself down the well-earned descent.

Oh, and my Garmin is behaving itself again. Weird!

Cutting through Todmorden and Hebden Bridge and I turned right  to start the next ascent.  By now I was starting to feel much better and I made it most of the way up on the big ring at the front.  On the way up near the summit I stopped to look back over my shoulder and take this snap

The only way is up

The route took my past the Blackstone Edge reservoir and then right to the White House at Littleborough.  Whether the gels and energy bars had kicked in at this point I don’t know, but I was feeling strong again, like I had a second wind.

White House, Littleborough

This is the start of a great descent – the first 1.5 miles of which I averaged over 30mph!  I then skirted round the edge of Hollingworth Lake and headed back through Rochdale.

Hollingworth Lake

At this point I realised that my slow start was in danger of making me late, so I had to really push hard to get home in time, averaging 17mph over the last 10 miles.  Considering the way I’d been felling I was more than happy with that.

Total distance was 50.5 miles in 3hrs 34mins at an average of 14.2mph.  2600ft of climbing meant I used 2734 kcals

Very happy with this weekend, clocking up over 156 miles.  I’m not sure I’m going to hit my training target of 2000 miles (excluding my commuting miles) but I’ll give it a very good go!

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