Using a Heavy Training Bike

Currently i’m training for hillclimbs. however, i’m hamstrung by the fact that i’m carrying lots of stuff to work and back everyday: it’s a new job and i haven’t quite worked out the lay of the land, where to store things, or a sense of routine. in order to try and stay on top of the training commitment i’m trying to ride immediately after work, otherwise i get home and then become lured by the temptations of the sofa, and procrastination strikes, and it’s all over. last year my commute was 15 pretty hilly miles each way, this took care of everything, and formed an awesome routine. i could ride hard, or simply spin.

at the moment i’m using my mercian, it’s 531c, but not that light. it has full mudguards and 25c gatorskin tyres. added to that, i have a brooks saddle and a carradice super C. the saddlebag usually contains two hardback notebooks, a4 (red and black is the best), a suit, shirt, jumper and tie, pair of shoes, lunch box, tools, pump and lights. it’s lightened slightly by the time i ride home, because i’ve eaten the sandwich and fruit. however, it’s still quite heavy, probably twice as heavy as the cervelo at around 12 kilos.

in theory i think this has a training benefit. today i did a hilly 20 miles, resting between the lumpy bits and flooring it at other times, it was bloody hard work. the danger is that it’s not like for like, and it’s possibly tougher, mentally, to get into the kind of zone where the training becomes a threshold and beyond effort. for example, it’s very tough to even contemplate doing intervals or hill repeats on this beast. i guess the proof will be in the pudding.

this weekend is my first open hillclimb of the season, the Swindon RC promotion. It’s a double stage, with a longer, 3.1 mile ascent, and then a horrible short blast. the field is absolutely stacked with rapid whippets – pete tadros, robert gough, tavis walker, richard cartland, danny axford, all of whom are at least top 20 at a national level, and three of whom finished in the top ten. it’s going to be interesting, that’s for sure.

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