The weatherman on Points West took time out of waxing lyrical about the conjunction of Jupiter and Venus to say that today was going to be a really lovely, sunny, bright and warm day once the cloud base lifted. With such delights in prospect i decided today was the day to unleash the C-Bomb. It’s actually a Cervelo R5, but in our house it’s acquired the nom de guerre of ‘The C-Bomb’. It weighs a bit under 7kg and is custom made for both stravabombs and smashing it up and down climbs all over the land. It is not custom-made for riding on the shitty, dirty, slurry-encrusted lanes of North Somerset, nor is it designed for ‘king of the club run’ type madness.
In keeping with such a sacrosanct and special occasion i adhered to certain rules: i wore my best cycling kit and made sure that the ‘colourway’ matched, including all trim and piping details. see the rules for more details. i also did not take a saddlebag, i carried the extras in my jersey pockets. No saddle bags on best bikes. i spoilt this aesthetic slightly by taking a levrier super musette so i could carry my work stuff – clean pants and socks, sandwich, flapjacks, bananas, oranges, apples, keys, phone and other assorted items. the bag is much lighter on the way home.
Lately i have come across Graham Douchebag on a couple of occasions – his training rides go the opposite way to mine. He’s gearing up for some Hardriders starting this weekend. The distance is marginally shorter than his target for last year, Paris-Brest-Paris. It was really foggy the other morning and looming out of the pea-souper was a pink shadow, gaining in substance and shape as the voluminous clouds swirled and parted. I thought it was a lady at first because of the pink softshell. i realised my mistake a a few seconds later when the unmistakeable profile of G appeared through the gloaming.
I bumped into him on the downs today. we were both a bit out of breath, i’d been digging in on the flat and he’d just ridden up a hill. He took one look at the bike and then asked what on earth i was doing commuting on it. I said that i was training anyway, and pointed at my 20mph average speed to try and justify it. Besides, as i pointed out, I put a clincher wheelset on there yesterday which practically makes it a hack bike.
This weekend sees the 3rd hardrider of the season, the Severn RC promotion. I had a torrid time in this event last year, felt really sick and came 9th. I’m hoping to do a bit better this year, although it lacks long climbs and is full of nasty little bits and a massive drag up a cratered B road. Great fun.
After a couple of days of doing a total kimmage (he was overtaken by a fully laden cyclotourist on the galibier whilst racing the Tour De France, it’s safe to say he had the mother of all bonks), i opted to have a day off yesterday. i think a few things conspired against me; the common cold, general fatigue, and a forgetfulness when it came to the likely after-effects of the first race of the season on my legs and lungs.
today i got back on the bike and felt great. i still have the vestiges of the cold rattling around my nasal cavities, but it isn’t anything in particular to speak of. i rode quickly up belmont and then did a 25 mile variable paced effort on the way home, riding hard on the hills and recovering to a certain extent on the flat. i feel like the week hasn’t been a total write-off and i can look forward (if possible) to the start of the hardriders the following weekend.
this weekend sees the second race of the season, the Severn 25 which takes in the graveyard and then throws in two short and nasty loops to make up the distance. graham douchebag will be riding. it’s a short hop for him in comparison to his usual 978 mile treks to wales and back in 24 hours. or whatever else these crazed audax types get up to.
I went out on the geared bike today. it was liberating. i rode much more quickly and without the level of severe effort required on some of the ups. i was able to pace things better and turn lighter gears. the contrast with the fixed wheel was marked after 10 weeks of non-stop, fixtastic winter base. my commute was around 10 minutes quicker on gears.
strava is proving ridiculously addictive. it has trashed my training schedule and had me mullering it on every climb i come across in the hope that it’s a logged segment. the novelty will wear off very soon. i hope.
A few people sent me a link to Strava. It’s ridiculously simple and i can’t really believe it’s not been thought of before. Essentially it does what any other training centre thingy does (map my ride, garminTC, etc), you put your garmin/gps thing on when you go out for a ride, record your ride data then upload the ride data to strava.
However, the neat, or fiendish thing about this one is that it then takes segments of your ride, especially climbs and so on, and puts those into a ranking against anyone else ever who has ridden that same stretch of road. it’s really really clever. however, it has the potential to turn any light training spin into an opportunity to top the leaderboard for a specific climb (sorry kieran).
it’ll certainly make you ride harder on the hills, and certainly make you realise there’s always the proverbial larger silverback. it has the benefit of seeing how your times compare with similar riders, thus spurring you on to try and beat those times. today i thought i’d put it to the test and have a pop at burrington – the club run took in the climb this morning. there were a few people on my wheel at the bottom, but after the cattle grid i really went for it and dropped everyone. i was on my 68″ gear with full mudguards and all kinds of shit. it was all i could do get under 9 minutes – the time credited on the website was about 9.30. it made me realise how much harder it is climbing in the cold with lots of layers and carrying excess weight on the bike. i also realised the climb is longer, and i lost time slowing down at the end where i knew the finish to be. on strava it’s mapped slightly awry. anyway, i stuck a time i’d recorded back in may or something up there instead. i didn’t put the 7.33 i managed in october up because i did it without a HRM. it gives me something to aim for for this season…