Saturday Club Run

Very windy morning today with a strong North-Easterly giving me a nice boost to the Swan in Winwick for the North Cheshire Clarion Saturday Club run. I arrived 15 minutes early thanks to the tailwind, having averaged 17.7mph over the 20 miles with little effort.  With a brand new guest we set off and did a very gentle 10 mile loop before doing a second 10 mile loop at much faster speeds

The ride back home was pretty tough into what was now a headwind, made worse by the East Lancs road being closed and backing traffic up.

The graph above shows my heart rate over the ride and the training zones I was in.  As you can see the first 20 miles to the Swan with a tailwind wasn’t too hard – with my heart being in the green zone much of the time.  The next gentle 10 mile loop you can see my heart rate is very low, and then it increases for the next 10 miles as we did the faster second loop.  The final 20 miles is the same route as the first 20 miles, but my heart rate is mostly in zone 5,  which highlights the significant increase in effort between a tailwind and a headwind.  It certainly hits the legs too, but a nice crisp ice bath at the end sorted that!

Overall, I did 60 miles at an average of 14.6mph on a fairly flat 1305ft ascent, using 3226 kcals.

50 hilly miles with Pete and Ian

After a week’s enforced rest I’ve been itching to get back in the saddle so on a cold a chilly Sunday morning Pete, Ian and I set off for a 50 mile ride covering a couple of decent climbs.  My knee improved during the week with no twinges although it did feel like it wasn’t quite right still.  So I was a little nervous as we set off.  The route we took went north out through Bury and then up the Rossendale valley through Bacup and up over to Todmorden.

Bacup to Tod was the first real climb.  Quite long and decently steep in places it’s a good place to get your climbing legs!  Or down the other side a long and fast descent into the town of Todmorden where we found a nice cafe called Costermongers, and a nice slice of coffee and walnut cake!

It'd be rude not to...

The wind was quite strong at times and considering it’s May it was freezing as we headed through Hebden Bridge, turning right at Mytholmroyd.  That brought us to the bottom of Cragg Vale and a sign which states “Start of the Longest Continuous Gradient in England – Rises 968 feet over 5.5 miles”. I decided to test my knee at this point so I went up the hill on the big ring and thought I was doing pretty well near the summit at 11.5mph when two young guys steamed past me with a cheery “morning!”

I stopped at the peak to take some pictures of Pete and Ian as they reached the top.

We then descended from the White House at Littleborough down to Hollingworth Lake.  This is a short but fast downhill section – with a slight tailwind I hit a top speed of 43.7mph which felt great.  Past the lake and then back through Rochdale, Heywood and finally home.  A total of 50.79 miles, 2683ft of climbing at an average of 14.3mph, burning over 3000kcals.  Ice bath when I got home and some slight saddle adjustments.  Knee is aching now but not really painful like it was last week.  Fingers crossed.

Saturday Club Run – 67 miles and an ice bath

I’ve been reading up on recovery techniques as I believe that the most difficult part of the LEJOG will be the cumulative effects of long distance every day.  There’s some good information at the BBC and various other websites, along with as many refuting the benefits.  So I thought, what the hell I’ll give it a go.  So after yesterday evenings ride I filled the bath with cold water and plunged in.  Within 30 seconds it was unbearable for my feet so I put a pair of socks on.  Yes, in the bath.  That made it bearable and I sat there for 5 minutes or so.  The reason I mention this is that on todays North Cheshire Clarion Saturday club run my legs felt really good.  Now that could have been down to the spectacularly good weather today – it really was ideal – or it could be down to my mind playing tricks on me.  But I may just give this ice bath lark a bit of a longer trial.

Back to the ride.  I rode the 20 miles or so to the Swan (meeting point) and was soon joined by Sarah, Giles and Gaz and a couple of guest riders.

Giles, Gaz, Sarah at the top of Houghwood Hill

Gaz and Sarah at the top of Houghwood Hill

Giles set us off at a cracking pace taking us round Golborne, Billinge, Haydock and Burtonwood.  He even managed to slip in a cheeky hill.  Not quite in the same league as Mow Cop but not easy by any stretch of the imagination.  I believe it’s called Houghwood Hill and according to the Garmin was 15.5% at it’s steepest.  However, whether that can be trusted is another question – read on below.  A quick blast back home to the ice bath down the East Lancs saw me clock up 67 miles at an average of 16.1mph.  I’m not sure how much climbing I did but it was in the order of 2000ft.  Total calories used – 3242kcals.

I posted in yesterday’s training ride blog that my Garmin had gone a bit mad on elevation.  Well it did it again today.  I have no idea what or why it is doing it but it’s a pain that it has suddenly started doing it after months of working correctly.

Contrary to the Garmin, I did NOT fall off a cliff at 62.5 miles and plunge 400ft under the sea...

As you can see it believes I started at about 900-odd ft and then at 62.5miles decided it was completely wrong and dropped the altitude quite considerably.  Even now, stood in my garden my Forerunner 305 is reading 355ft elevation (correct) and my Edge 705 is reading -161ft.  A hard reset has not changed this so if it carries on I’ll be calling Garmin – although as with most “help” desks I don’t hold out much hope for a solution…