I guess it’s all relative. To many faster, fitter, younger riders it probably won’t seem like much, but this weekend has been pretty high intensity for me. And that’s on top of a week where I’ve probably overcooked things. Last Saturday I tackled the Hopey New Year audax which was very tough in itself. I took Sunday off and then played football on Monday – on a side with a man down. Tuesday I took off and then did my normal commute (12.5 miles each way) on Wednesday. Thursday it was football (again a man down) and Friday my commute. Geordie Graeme from North Cheshire Clarion had mentioned a Saturday afternoon ride so myself and Paul turned up. I thought it would be a good warm up for Sunday’s new format “training” club run, which I’d volunteered to lead. As it was Paul and Graeme drove a pretty fast pace into the wind, and as we didn’t stop, I got my nutrition horribly wrong and was bonking badly with 4 or 5 miles to go, slowing the guys considerably.
Saturday evening was all about trying to recover. My “warmup” had really hit my legs so I was into an ice-bath when I got home and then on with the compression tights, much to the amusement of the family.
There has been some discussion about the NCC Sunday club runs recently. They are billed as social and open to anyone, fitting nicely with the ethos of the club itself. The trouble is, fitness-wise, I’ve felt myself going backwards as they don’t stretch me at all. Last summer and autumn it was okay because there was always an audax or a sportive that helped keep the levels up. But after November, and coupled with the white-off that was December, I’ve gone backwards at a rate of knots. So we now have sister rides to the social rides – currently known as training rides. Today was the first and I was leading. We set off 15 minutes ahead of the social ride, on the same route, such that anybody struggling can be swept up by the social ride.
Including me there were 6 riders up for the inaugural ride, and off we went. If anything the weather was worse and the wind slightly stronger, blowing West to East – so into our faces from the off.
The ride went very well indeed, with people taking turns on the front and keeping up a decent pace. As we arrived at the cafe stop after 30 miles we were averaging 17.6mph. Some coffee & walnut cake helped refill the tank and we set off back. By now we were turning back into the wind and the heavens opened with cold, driving rain directly into our faces. As opposed to Saturday where I bonked, today I got within a couple of miles of the end and my legs had decided enough was enough, and I gradually slipped off the back . Anthony sportingly dropped back and pulled me back on but my legs were shot at the end.
The two HR profiles show the level of intensity I was working at on both days. To put it all into context, in the 603 rides where I’ve collected data, these were 3rd and 8th highest average heart-rate, which I think is either a measure of how my fitness has tailed off, or it shows that whilst I’m pretty good at long distance and endurance, I’m not so good at high intensity. Put it this way, I feel a long way off the 18.6mph average that Anthony and I did on the Manchester 100. It’s probably a mixture of both if I think about it. I’m just not used to these higher intensity rides and therefore struggle when we get towards the end of them.
And that is what the training rides are all about. Hopefully these will develop my fitness and help increase my ability to work at a higher intensity for longer. That said, I also think I need to realise that I’m not as young as I used to be, and not get frustrated when I can’t do everything I want to do, at the intensity that I want to do it.
My legs are aching now, and my right knee is very, very sore. I think I’ll listen to my body now and have a couple of days off. Hopefully everyone else enjoyed the training ride and it will be the first of many.
Ride Stats : Saturday 43.6 miles in 2hrs 38m @ 16.5mph, 2512kcals used
Ride Stats : Sunday 42.8 miles in 2hrs 30m @ 17mph, 2517kcals used