7-30am this morning and Pete, Andy and I were getting ready to set off on my Cornwall Simulator route. The route goes north through Accrington into the Ribble Valley and Forest of Bowland, through Slaidburn, Longridge and Ribchester, then back via Blackburn and Bury.
The reason I call it a Cornwall simulator is that although it is 30 miles shy of our day 1 Lejog, it packs in a similar amount of climbing. Here’s the two elevation profiles side-by-side for comparison
As you can see both routes are pretty much roller-coaster rides. In fact, todays route is probably the harder of the two, with gradients that we will rarely, if at all, see on the Lejog. Here’s the gradient profile side-by-side
Today’s ride had 7 climbs with a gradient > 10%, 3 of which were > 12.5% and 1 of which was > 15%. Cornwall will see only 3 climbs > 10% with the worst being 12.5%. Whilst that isn’t the whole story obviously, the point is that doing today’s ride is a good indicator of how it will feel on day 1.
Pete is recovering from a chest infection and so had peeled off prior to the big hills so it left Andy and I to tackle them. It’s fair to say he was having a harder time and then we worked out that whilst I was running on a 50-34 compact with my new 12-27 cassette, he has a 53-39 with a 12-25. What does that mean? Well, in simple terms and assuming we have the same crank lengths (we both run 700x23c wheels)
- each turn of my crank would turn the rear wheel 34/27 times = 1.26
- each turn of Andy’s crank would turn the rear wheel 39/25 times = 1.56
- which means I had 19% lower gearing than Andy
- he has to work much harder than I do going up very steep hills
We stopped at 2 cafe’s. The Riverbank Tea Room in Slaidburn, where I had a very nice tea cake
And then in Ribchester at the Carmen Rose Tea Room, where I had coffee & walnut cake and Andy got stuck into chocolate fudge cake.
The day was pretty hot – ideal weather for cycling with minimal breeze. On the downhill stretch to home Andy got a puncture in his rear tyre – a huge bent nail sticking out of it. His own fault because at the start he was singing the praises of his Armadillo tyres which “had never had a puncture.” To be fair the nail would have gone through a car tyre so I don’t think any bike tyre would have helped – but shows the importance of not tempting fate!
Overall we did 78 miles in 5hrs and 39 mins which is an average of 13.9mph. Total calories used 4181.