Woke up to a cold and damp morning with my legs feeling particularly heavy from yesterday’s hill-fest in Lancashire. I guess this is what the actual journey is going to feel like at times (only worse) although I’m hoping that excitement and adrenaline will play their part. Had to be back early today so decided on a shorter route but still with some “lumps” to get over. The route heads north towards Blackburn over the Grane Road and then turns back on itself and down to Bury and home. It’s a favourite of mine.
It was made a bit harder by the rain and the headwind as I headed north. The north bit is the uphill bit – so just what I needed was an added headwind. One of the reasons that Land’s End to John o’ Groats is considered easier than the other way round is that generally the prevailing wind is south-westerly giving you a push. However, having followed the weather closely for the last few months there seems to be an awful lot of northerly winds which will be a nightmare if it turns out like that at the end of June!
Much of making it over hills is in the mind. Quite often your body has plenty in reserve but your mind tells you to stop. I decided today I’d do some “mental training” by staying on the big ring up all the hills. The temptation would be there to make life easier and go to the granny ring but this would be good for mind over matter, not to mention helping build up the power in my legs.
I have to say it was a struggle, what with the headwind and the rain, but I did it. And I beat my best time on this route. In May last year I did this route in 2 hours and 39 minutes, averaging 12.1mph. In February this year, as my only training ride of the week, I did it in 2 hours and 14 minutes, averaging 14.4mph. Today I did it in 2 hours and 8 minutes, averaging 15mph which I am very pleased with, especially after yesterday and the conditions. Interestingly, in February I used 2109kcals of energy and had an average heart-rate of 148bpm. Today I used 1761kcals with an average heart-rate of 135bpm. I think these are good indicators of how far I’ve come. My next target will be to beat 2 hours on this route!